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Solar flare may have contributed to sinking of Titanic: study

A new study suggests that a huge solar flare may have scrambled the vessel’s compass readings and led the ship to a disastrous crash.

In her recent article published in the journal weather, Mila Zinkova, a weather researcher and a retired computer programmer, said  that there is evidence of strong solar activity on the night the legendary ship had sunk.

She said that a huge solar storm could have caused the magnetic compass to point slightly away from magnetic north, leading the vessel on its disastrous course.

The researcher said, “The Titanic struck an iceberg at 2340 ship time on April 14, 1912 (0310 UTC, April 15) in light winds and a relatively calm sea state.”

“The Titanic’s Fourth Officer Joseph Boxhall worked out the ship’s SOS position. Boxhall’s position was around 13 nautical miles (24 km) off their real position. The rescue ship Carpathia received this wrong position, but somehow miraculously streamed directly to the Titanic’s lifeboats.”

Zinkova said that both the error and correction may have been caused by the effect of space weather.

It is considered here that a significant space weather event, in this instance a geomagnetic storm, was present during the period around the Titanic’s disaster, with some impacts upon navigation and communication, she added.

The researcher said, “A negligible compass error, which might have resulted from the storm, could have placed the Titanic on the collision course. The geomagnetic storm might have been partly responsible for the incorrect calculation of the Titanic’s SOS position in both direct and indirect ways by influencing the compass, and by adding to the stress level of the navigators who performed the calculations.”



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