This is an archive of AGU's GeoSpace blog through 1 July 2020. New content about AGU research can be found on Eos and the AGU newsroom.

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12 November 2018

Powerful solar storm likely detonated mines during Vietnam War

A strong solar storm in 1972 caused widespread disturbances to satellites and spacecraft, and may have led to the detonation of mines during the Vietnam War, according to new research showing the event may have been a more devastating solar storm than previously thought. In a new study, researchers pieced together data and historical records related to the solar activity of 1972 to better understand the nature of the solar storm. In the process, they uncovered an incident where sea mines off the coast of Vietnam were detonated by the solar event.


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25 July 2017

Researchers uncover 200-year-old sunspot drawings in Maine

In April of 1815, the volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia caused a global decrease in temperatures for the following few years, and 1816 came to be known as the “year without a summer.” New England states were particularly hard hit by these temperature changes, which significantly affected agriculture production and quality of life. Alongside his journal entries, Reverend Jonathan Fisher of Blue Hill, Maine sketched the sunspots during the summer of 1816, thinking they might be responsible for the cold summer temperatures.


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26 August 2013

Why sunspots won’t help you make a fortune on wheat futures

A claim by 1800s astronomer William Herschel says the Sun’s moods influence things here on Earth in a more immediate way. Herschel asserted that the number of dark splotches on the Sun, called sunspots, significantly affects the wholesale price of wheat grain. Jeffery Love, a geophysicist for the US Geological Survey, decided to put this claim to the test. Such correlations, if they existed, would provide a useful analog for scientists researching historical solar activity.


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