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posted by martyb on Sunday September 27 2020, @08:10PM   Printer-friendly
from the vatch-das-blinkenlights dept.

An aurora that lit up the sky over the Titanic might explain why it sank:

Glowing auroras shimmered in skies over the northern Atlantic Ocean on April 15, 1912 — the night the RMS Titanic sank. Now, new research hints that the geomagnetic storm behind the northern lights could have disrupted the ship's navigation and communication systems and hindered rescue efforts, fueling the disaster that killed more than 1,500 passengers.

Eyewitnesses described aurora glows in the region as the Titanic went down, with one observer testifying that "the northern lights were very strong that night," Mila Zinkova, an independent weather researcher and photographer, reported in a new study, published online Aug. 4 in the journal Weather.

[...] Auroras form from solar storms, when the sun expels high-speed streams of electrified gas that hurtle toward Earth. As the charged particles and energy collide with Earth's atmosphere, some travel down magnetic field lines to interact with atmospheric gases, glowing green, red, purple and blue, NASA says. These charged particles can also interfere with electrical and magnetic signals, causing surges and oscillations, according to NASA.

[...] And the northern lights were highly visible when the Titanic sank.

[...] At the same time that the solar storm's charged particles were generating a pretty light show, they could also have been tugging at the Titanic's compass. A deviation of only 0.5 degrees would have been enough to steer the ship away from safety and place it on its fatal collision course toward an iceberg, Zinkova said in the study.

"This apparently insignificant error could have made the difference between colliding with the iceberg and avoiding it," she wrote.

[...] Radio signals that night were also "freaky," operators on the ocean liner RMS Baltic reported (the Baltic was one of the ships that responded to the Titanic's distress call, but the RMS Carpathia got there first, according to the Armstrong Browning Library at Baylor University in Waco, Texas). SOS signals sent by the Titanic to nearby ships went unheard, and responses to the Titanic were never received, according to Zinkova.

Journal Reference:
Mila Zinkova. RMetS Journals, Weather (DOI: 10.1002/wea.3817)


Original Submission

Related Stories

First Full-sized 3D Scan of the Wreck of the Titanic 5 comments

Deep sea researchers have used two submersibles to make the first full, 3-dimensional scan of the wreck of the sunken passenger ship, The Titanic, including much of the 3-mile long debris field. This is a major step forward in evidence-based analysis of the wreck from over a hundred years ago.

The new scan was "devoid of that," he said, adding, "It is completely based on data and not human interpretation and that is why we are now seeing it in its larger context for the first time ever."

Atlantic Productions said "one major area of deterioration" had already been observed in the officers' quarters. "This included the room of Captain Edward John Smith and discovered that the iconic captain's bathtub has now disappeared from view," it added.

"Now we're getting objective, so we can get really serious with the science of understanding the wreck," Stephenson said.

He added that he was "absolutely convinced," that the photogrammetry model would now be used "not just for Titanic, but for all underwater exploration," because it "ushers in a new phase of exploration and analysis."

Much of the wreck lies in two main pieces, far apart from each other, at a depth of about 4,000 meters. Around 700k images where taken and stitched together to created the model.

Previously:
(2022) Researchers Discover Wreck of Ship that Tried to Warn the Titanic
(2022) OceanGate Ramps Up the Research for its Second Deep-sea Expedition to the Titanic
(2020) An Aurora that Lit Up the Sky Over the Titanic Might Explain Why It Sank
(2020) US Court Grants Permission to Recover Marconi Telegraph from Titanic's Wreckage [Updated]
(2018) Finding the Titanic with ROVs and Navy Funding


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by looorg on Sunday September 27 2020, @08:24PM (16 children)

    by looorg (578) on Sunday September 27 2020, @08:24PM (#1057780)

    Really? Being blinded by the pretty lights made them ram into the giant iceberg? The Titanic tales are starting, and have been for some time, to sound a tad farfetched.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 27 2020, @08:36PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 27 2020, @08:36PM (#1057791)

      To change the movie game FOREVER.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Sunday September 27 2020, @08:39PM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Sunday September 27 2020, @08:39PM (#1057792) Journal

      I also have a hard time understanding how lights in the sky would have hidden the iceberg. Of all the accounts I have read, the one that makes most sense is, there was no lookout on the weather deck. The lookouts were posted on the bridge and higher. People looking down into a dark sea aren't going to see a block of dirty ice. A lookout nearer the waterline may have seen that block of ice in silhouette against the slightly brighter sky.

      When all is said and done, the ship's design ensured that she would sink after being holed where it was holed. The water tight bulkheads did not all extend up to the weatherdeck. That was the failure that doomed the ship to sinking.

      --
      We've finally beat Medicare! - Houseplant in Chief
    • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Sunday September 27 2020, @08:47PM (12 children)

      by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Sunday September 27 2020, @08:47PM (#1057797)

      The Titanic tales are bloody endless, ever since James Cameron made that terrible movie about it, with Kate Whatsername and that annoying bloke.

      When stories like that nonsense start appearing again I assume Cameron has something to sell.

      • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Sunday September 27 2020, @10:22PM (10 children)

        by Gaaark (41) on Sunday September 27 2020, @10:22PM (#1057840) Journal

        Yeah, saw that 'movie' at the drive-in because my wife and daughter wanted to see it: the first half sucked completely and the spitting scene was the worst acting i've ever seen.

        The second half was okay, what with the running and screaming and dying...

        Not a Dicrapio fan AT ALL.

        Now he'll probably want to re-shoot it with an aurora......

        --
        --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
        • (Score: 1, Troll) by claywar on Sunday September 27 2020, @11:31PM (6 children)

          by claywar (3069) on Sunday September 27 2020, @11:31PM (#1057883)

          You've probably blocked this from memory; but if you think that was bad, travel in a wayback machine to 1996 and watch Leo ruin Shakespeare!

          • (Score: 3, Informative) by PartTimeZombie on Sunday September 27 2020, @11:48PM (4 children)

            by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Sunday September 27 2020, @11:48PM (#1057905)

            At least the source material for that was great.

            Titanic is a movie about two horrible people meeting on a ship full of arseholes, and then it sinks.

            You're welcome, now you don't have to watch it.

            Oh, and the bloke dies at the end and that is the good news, because no sequel.

            • (Score: 2) by driverless on Monday September 28 2020, @12:40AM (3 children)

              by driverless (4770) on Monday September 28 2020, @12:40AM (#1057938)

              A more concise summary:

              Titanic: Two arseholes hook up on a ship full of arseholes, which then sinks.

              Yeah, I think that covers it pretty well.

              • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Monday September 28 2020, @01:07AM (2 children)

                by MostCynical (2589) on Monday September 28 2020, @01:07AM (#1057952) Journal

                you forgot " and it takes three hours, but feels like seven"

                --
                "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
                • (Score: 2) by driverless on Monday September 28 2020, @01:12AM (1 child)

                  by driverless (4770) on Monday September 28 2020, @01:12AM (#1057954)

                  Only seven? I went to a 7pm performance and after it had been running for about three hours looked at my watch and it was 7:20.

                  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 28 2020, @01:45AM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 28 2020, @01:45AM (#1057980)

                    I went with a group and part way through, went for a walk - about 15 guys were lurking in the foyer, all asking "has it sunk yet?"

                    Only thing worse than the movie with that song by Celine Dionandonandonandonn...

          • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Monday September 28 2020, @10:22AM

            by Gaaark (41) on Monday September 28 2020, @10:22AM (#1058107) Journal

            Never saw it...thanking Dog.

            --
            --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
        • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Sunday September 27 2020, @11:44PM (1 child)

          by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Sunday September 27 2020, @11:44PM (#1057902)

          Now he'll probably want to re-shoot it with an aurora......

          Don't you put ideas in his head. If he wants to reshoot it, he'll make the taxpayers of New Zealand pay for the stupid thing. And we will, because "jobs".

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 28 2020, @01:33AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 28 2020, @01:33AM (#1057967)

            In a trilogy with pretentious names reflecting the aura.

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by driverless on Monday September 28 2020, @12:37AM

          by driverless (4770) on Monday September 28 2020, @12:37AM (#1057936)

          If you want a good film about it, try "A Night to Remember". "Titanic" is pure drivel in comparison.

      • (Score: 2) by driverless on Monday September 28 2020, @12:34AM

        by driverless (4770) on Monday September 28 2020, @12:34AM (#1057935)

        What's the Titanic equivalent of the existing "pyramidiot"? Sounds like we need an equivalent term for this field.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Freeman on Monday September 28 2020, @04:27PM

      by Freeman (732) on Monday September 28 2020, @04:27PM (#1058179) Journal

      Or, if you'd read the summary . . .

      At the same time that the solar storm's charged particles were generating a pretty light show, they could also have been tugging at the Titanic's compass. A deviation of only 0.5 degrees would have been enough to steer the ship away from safety and place it on its fatal collision course toward an iceberg, Zinkova said in the study.

      --
      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by deadstick on Monday September 28 2020, @03:00AM (1 child)

    by deadstick (5110) on Monday September 28 2020, @03:00AM (#1058017)

    The part about interference with communication may hold some water, but the notion of a compass error causing the collision is ludicrous. You can't navigate around a hazard if you don't know where it is, and even if you did know, you'd be a bloody fool to trust a magnetic compass heading to 0.5 degree precision.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Freeman on Monday September 28 2020, @04:33PM

      by Freeman (732) on Monday September 28 2020, @04:33PM (#1058182) Journal

      The idea, isn't that a compass error of 0.5 degrees would have helped or hindered "emergency" maneuvering to avoid the iceberg. Rather, that the 0.5 degrees of compass error put it on the course to hit the iceberg. Thus, if it's heading had been different by 0.5 degrees, it could have sailed on and never even seen the iceberg. Then again, maybe it would have just hit another iceberg.

      The problem the Titanic had was hubris. The belief that the boat couldn't sink. Which lead to poor design decisions regarding life boats and very likely contributed to it's impact with an iceberg.

      --
      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
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