Status Report

Candidate Auroral Observations during the Major Solar-Terrestrial Storm in May 1680: Implication for Space Weather Events during the Maunder Minimum

By SpaceRef Editor
September 1, 2020
Filed under , ,

Hisashi Hayakawa, Kristian Schlegel, Bruno P. Besser, Yusuke Ebihara

The Maunder Minimum (1645-1715) is currently considered the only grand minimum within telescopic sunspot observations since 1610. During this epoch, the Sun was extremely quiet and unusually free from sunspots. However, despite reduced frequency, candidate aurorae were reported in the mid-European sector during this period and have been associated with occurrences of interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs), whereas some of them have been identified as misinterpretations. Here, we have analysed reports of candidate aurorae on 1 June 1680 with simultaneous observations in mid-Europe, and compared their descriptions with visual accounts of early modern aurorae. Most contemporary sunspot drawings from 22, 24, and 27 May 1680 have shown that this apparent sunspot may have been a source of ICMEs, which caused the reported candidate aurorae. On the other hand, its intensity estimate shows that the magnetic storm during this candidate aurora was probably within the capability of the storms derived from the corotating interaction region (CIR). Therefore, we accommodate both ICMEs and CIRs as their possible origin. This interpretation is probably applicable to the candidate aurorae in the often-cited Hungarian catalogue, on the basis of the reconstructed margin of their equatorward auroral boundary. Moreover, this catalogue itself has clarified that the considerable candidates during the MM were probably misinterpretations. Therefore, frequency of the auroral visibility in Hungary was probably lower than previously considered and agree more with the generally slow solar wind in the existing reconstructions, whereas sporadic occurrences of sunspots and coronal holes still caused occasional geomagnetic storms.

Comments: 22 pages and 5 figures, accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal; Figure 3 is available only in the record version

Subjects: Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (astro-ph.SR); Geophysics (physics.geo-ph); Space Physics (

Journal reference: Astrophysical Journal, 2020

DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/abb3c2

Cite as: arXiv:2008.13739 [astro-ph.SR] (or arXiv:2008.13739v1 [astro-ph.SR] for this version)

Submission history

From: Hisashi Hayakawa 

[v1] Mon, 31 Aug 2020 17:01:15 UTC (2,395 KB)

Space Weather

SpaceRef staff editor.