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RMS Titanic: Solar flare may have contributed to sinking, study says



The RMS Titanic may have only taken the exact fatal course that saw it pierced and sunk by an iceberg on April 15, 1912 because a solar flare threw away the ship’s compass readings, a study proposed.

According to a US meteorologist, the last night of the ocean liner sailing in the Atlantic was illuminated by the Northern Lights, the light show caused by the interaction with the atmosphere of charged particles from the sun.

Based on eyewitness accounts of the aurora appearing that night, he argues, the “geomagnetic storm” may have been large enough to affect navigation to a small but significant extent.

The interference may also have served to disrupt wireless transmissions between the sinking ship and other nearby ships, blocking some of the Titanic̵

7;s distress calls and messages sent in response.

However, the researcher says, the magnetic disruption may have had a positive side, helping to compensate for the error in the Titanic’s transmission location by accidentally bringing another ship into the correct location of the ship’s lifeboats.

Solar flares can cause substantial damage if of sufficiently high intensity. A storm in 1859, for example, the “Carrington Event,” induced such currents in the telegraph cables that the pylons set off and the operators received shocks.

If such an event happened today, experts believe it would cause unprecedented levels of damage to electronics and power grids around the world, with the potential for tragedy equal to that of the Titanic.

The RMS Titanic may have only taken the exact fatal course that saw it pierced and sunk by an iceberg on April 15, 1912 because a solar flare threw away the ship's compass readings, a study proposed. In the photo, the sinking of the Titanic

The RMS Titanic may have only taken the exact fatal course that saw it pierced and sunk by an iceberg on April 15, 1912 because a solar flare threw away the ship’s compass readings, a study proposed. In the photo, the sinking of the Titanic

According to a US meteorologist, the last night of the ocean liner's navigation was illuminated by the Northern Lights, the light show caused by the interaction with the atmosphere of charged particles released by a solar flare, in the photo. Based on reports of the aurora appearing that night, he argues, the `` geomagnetic storm '' may have been large enough to affect navigation.

According to a US meteorologist, the last night of the ocean liner’s navigation was illuminated by the Northern Lights, the light show caused by the interaction with the atmosphere of charged particles released by a solar flare, in the photo. Based on reports of the aurora appearing that night, he argues, the “ geomagnetic storm ” may have been large enough to affect navigation.

RMS TITANIC: SPECIFICATIONS

Length: 882 feet 9 inches

Width: 92 ft 6 in (bundle)

Tonnage: 46,328 GRT

Bridges: 9

Boilers: 24

Engines: 2

Power: 46,000 HP

Maximum speed: 24 knots

Cost: £ 1.5 million (£ 140 million in 2016)

Capacity: 2,435 + 892 crew members

Structures: Including a swimming pool, steam rooms, kennel and post office

“Most people who write about the Titanic don’t know that the Northern Lights were seen that night,” Mila Zinkova of California, a retired independent meteorological researcher and computer programmer, told magazine Hakai.

“Even if the compass had only shifted one degree, it could already have made a difference,” he added.

Titanic survivor and author Lawrence Beesley described seeing the Northern Lights in his account of the disaster, writing that after the ship sank, he saw a faint glow in the sky ahead to starboard from the lifeboats, the first glows. , we thought, of the impending dawn.

“We weren’t sure of the time, and perhaps we were too eager to accept some relief from the darkness too readily – even too happy to be able to look at each other and see who our lucky companions were; to be free from the risk of being on the tracks of a steamer, invisible in the dark, “he continued.

“But we were doomed to disappointment: the soft light increased for a while and went out a little; it flashed again, and then stood still for a few minutes! “The Northern Lights”! It suddenly occurred to me, and it did.

Similarly, second mate James Bisset of RMS Carpathia – the passenger steamship of the Cunard Line, bound for Rijeka in Austria-Hungary (now Rijeka, Croatia), who came to the rescue of the survivors of the Titanic – noted the aurora borealis in its log about an hour before the Titanic hit the iceberg.

«The weather was calm, the sea calm, without wind. The sky was clear and the stars were shining. There was no moon, but the Northern Lights shone like moon rays rising from the northern horizon, “he wrote.

According to Mr. Bisset’s records, space weather was still strong about five hours later as the Carpathia approached the lifeboats.

“Although the night was cloudless and the stars shone, the peculiar atmospheric conditions of visibility intensified as we approached the ice field with the greenish rays of the Northern Lights sparkling and blurring the horizon ahead of us to the north. “he noted.

“Most people who write about the Titanic don’t know that the Northern Lights were seen that night,” Mila Zinkova of California, a retired independent meteorological researcher and computer programmer, told magazine Hakai. “Even if the compass had only shifted one degree, it could already have made a difference,” he added. In the photo, the Titanic seen at its berth in Southampton

The Titanic ¿which sank on April 15, 1912, after a collision with an iceberg ¿lies on the bottom of the sea about 350 nautical miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. The ship made two short stops en route to the scheduled Atlantic crossing, one at the French port of Cherbourg, the other at the port of Cork, Ireland, where smaller ships carried passengers on and off board.

The Titanic – which sank on April 15, 1912, after a collision with an iceberg – lies on the seabed some 350 nautical miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. The ship made two short stops en route to the scheduled Atlantic crossing: one at the French port of Cherbourg, the other at the port of Cork, Ireland, where smaller ships carried passengers on and off board.

“The fact that so many people have seen the aurora makes me confident that a space weather event has occurred,” space and atmospheric physicist Chris Scott of the University of Reading, who was not involved in the study, told the journal Hakai. In the photo, the bow of the Titanic looms from the dark depths to its resting place off the coast of Newfoundland

Compass errors may have had other effects the night the Olympic-class ocean liner crashed, Zinkova suggested.

Responding to the distress signal from the Titanic, the RMS Carpathia – a passenger steamship of the Cunard Line bound for Rijeka in Austria-Hungary (now Rijeka, Croatia) – received incorrect coordinates for the stricken ship which was about 13.5 miles out. nautical (15.5 miles). / 25.0 kilometers) from the actual location of the Titanic.

However, the Carpathia managed to navigate directly to the Titanic’s drifting lifeboats, a feat Ms. Zinkova attributes to compass errors caused by the solar storm conveniently nullifying wrong coordinates.

“The dawn light may also have been useful for the rescue operation,” he added.

The Carpathia managed to rescue 705 disaster survivors from the 20 lifeboats of the Titanic.

In response to the Titanic's SOS, the RMS Carpathia, a passenger steamship on the Cunard Line bound for Rijeka in Austria-Hungary (now Rijeka, Croatia), received incorrect coordinates for the affected ship which was about 13.5 miles out. nautical (15.5 miles / 25.0 kilometers) from the actual location of the Titanic. In the photo, the Carpathia saving lifeboats in the movie

In response to the Titanic’s SOS, the RMS Carpathia – a passenger steamship of the Cunard Line bound for Rijeka in Austria-Hungary (now Rijeka, Croatia) – received incorrect coordinates for the affected ship that was out about 13.5 miles. nautical (15.5 miles / 25.0 kilometers) from the actual location of the Titanic. In the photo, the Carpathia saving lifeboats in the movie “Titanic”

In response to the distress signal from the Titanic, the RMS Carpathia, a passenger steamship of the Cunard Line bound for Rijeka in Austria-Hungary (now Rijeka, Croatia), received incorrect coordinates for the affected ship which was out about 13.5 miles. nautical (15.5 miles). / 25.0 kilometers) from the actual location of the Titanic

However, the Carpathia managed to navigate directly to the Titanic’s drifting lifeboats (the latter two of which are pictured here shortly before their recovery) – a feat Ms. Zinkova attributes to solar storm-induced compass errors. which conveniently erase incorrect coordinates

“The dawn light may also have been useful for the rescue operation,” Zinkova added. The Carpathia, pictured here in New York after the rescue of 705 disaster survivors from the Titanic’s 20 lifeboats

“The fact that so many people have seen the aurora makes me confident that a space weather event has occurred,” space and atmospheric physicist Chris Scott of the University of Reading, who was not involved in the study, told the journal Hakai.

He added that modeling Earth’s ionosphere on the night of the disaster and simulating known radio transmissions sent by ships in the Titanic’s vicinity could help shed light on why some messages have passed and others have not.

Titanic historian Tim Maltin, meanwhile, told Hakai magazine he agreed that there was sufficient evidence that a solar storm coincided with catastrophe, but he thought it “was not a significant factor” in the sinking. .

Almost five days after her voyage, the Titanic hit an iceberg around 11:40 pm local time, generating six narrow openings in the ship's starboard hull, believed to have occurred due to the snapping of rivets in the hull. In the photo, the iceberg believed to have sunk the Titanic

Almost five days after her voyage, the Titanic hit an iceberg around 11:40 pm local time, generating six narrow openings in the ship’s starboard hull, believed to have occurred due to the snapping of rivets in the hull. In the photo, the iceberg believed to have sunk the Titanic

THE TIMELINE OF THE TITANIC DISASTER

Ned Parfett, the

Ned Parfett, the “Titanic Newsboy”, outside the White Star Line offices in London

April 10, 1912 (12:00):

The Titanic sails from Southampton to New York, calling at Cherbourg and Cork along the route.

April 14 (09: 00-22: 30, ship time):

Marconi Company radio officers on the Titanic received a total of six nearby ice notices, not all of which were relayed to the crew.

April 14 (11:39 pm):

Alert Frederick Fleet, in the crow’s nest, spots a dead iceberg in front of the ship. Turning left, the ship managed to avoid a direct collision, but suffered a “glance”.

April 15 (00:05):

Captain Edward Smith orders the ship to be abandoned and causes the radio operators to emit distress signals.

April 15 (02:05):

The last Titanic lifeboat is launched. Ten minutes later, the ocean liner’s angle in the water rapidly increased, eventually reaching over 30 degrees, as the water reached previously unsuited parts of the ship through the deck hatches.

April 15 (02:20):

The Titanic finally disappeared under the waves, about two hours and forty minutes after hitting the iceberg.

Built by Belfast shipbuilders Harland and Wolff between 1909 and 1912, the RMS Titanic was the largest afloat ship of its time.

Owned and operated by the White Star Line, the passenger ship set sail on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York on 10 April 1912.

The ship made two short stops en route to the scheduled Atlantic crossing: one at the French port of Cherbourg, the other at the port of Cork, Ireland, where smaller ships carried passengers aboard the Titanic.

Almost five days after its voyage, the Titanic hit an iceberg around 11:40 pm local time.

This generated six narrow openings in the ship’s starboard hull, which are believed to have occurred due to the snapping of rivets in the hull.

The Titanic took up water about fifteen times faster than it could be pumped.

The damage to the hull proved too extensive for the ship’s watertight bulkheads to prevent floods from spreading to the lower compartmentalized decks of the ocean liner.

After about two and a half hours, the ship broke into two sections and sank, each settling at the bottom of the sea about a third of a mile apart.

About 1,500 people were believed to have been lost in the tragedy, including about 815 ship’s passengers.

The Titanic disaster prompted the drafting of the Convention on the Safety of Life at Sea in 1914, which still today sets the minimum safety requirements to which all ships are required to comply.

While the stern of the sunken ship was ruined, much of the bow, despite impact damage and deterioration, remained recognizable when the wreck was finally discovered on the seabed by US underwater archaeologist Robert Ballard in 1985.

Since then, dozens of expeditions have been made to the wreck to observe the ship and recover the artifacts.

Experts, however, are concerned that this activity is causing the Titanic to decay much faster than it otherwise would on the sea floor.

Ms Zinkova’s full article was published in Weather magazine.


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