Scientists report that they have found the earliest written record of a solar storm in ancient Assyrian tablets.
Recent analyzes have found evidence of an extreme solar storm that left energetic particles in tree rings and
ice cores sometime around 660 BC. Around the world. With this in mind, research teams in Japan and the UK have wondered if they could find clues to this storm in ancient astrological records – and they may have found something in Assyrian slates.
In the 19th century, archaeologists discovered thousands of tablets from the Assyrian Empire in Mesopotamia, which documents treaties, stories, including the now-famous Gilgamesh epic, and astrological reports. These reports included observations of the planets, phenomena such as comets and meteorites, and of course, predictions of omens. The researchers (today's researchers) have searched a collection of these astrological reports in search of events of the type Auroral which they call "reddish luminous phenomena in the sky" and which are caused by the particles interacting with the sun atmosphere. Many of the reports were undated, but researchers could create date ranges, at least on the basis of the astrologer who wrote the report.
They found three reports in which auroral phenomena seemed to be mentioned: one with a "red shimmer", the other a "red cloud" and a third report covering "the sky red [ed]", according to published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters . The datasets correlate with date ranges of 679 v. Until 655 BC BC, 677 BC Until 666 BC Chr. 679 BC Until 670 BC Assyria seems to be too far south to see the aurora. It is about the same latitude as North Carolina. Investigations have shown, however, that the north magnetic pole in the 7th century BC. The Middle East was much closer (and can cause particularly strong solar storms) the Aurora moves south).
These records appear to correspond to tree ring data and ice core data showing a rapid increase in radioactivity associated with solar activity during this time. Obviously, these are just correlations-but perhaps these charts are the earliest records of intense auroral activity.
The ice core and tree ring data suggest that the storm was 660 BC. Chr. Would have been pretty violent. An explosion of particles after a solar flare could even have made a hole in the ozone layer. It is adjacent to similar-looking events from 775 AD and a weaker event around 993 AD. One of the strongest possible solar proton events has been chaos on our electrical infrastructure. And if you are an old Assyrian, a red cloud would surely be a bad, bad omen.