(August 9, 2016) Business Insider reported that a colossal solar burst caused radio interference in 1967 that almost started a nuclear war.
The “Great [Solar] Storm” of May 1967 caused widespread radio communications blackouts, and was seen as potential jamming from Soviet Russia. The Air Weather Service (AWS) — a relatively new branch of the Air Force — had warned military leadership about the possibility of a solar storm, but US commanders believed the Soviet forces were jamming NORADsystems designed to detect threatening planes and missiles and radio jamming, at the time, was interpreted as an act of war.
As the Strategic Air Command (SAC) warmed up the engines of bombers and taxied toward the runway, the decision to go airborne may have been kicked all the way up to the highest levels of government, possibly involving President Lyndon B. Johnson.
“Just in time, military space weather forecasters conveyed information about the solar storm’s potential to disrupt radar and radio communications,” according to a press release from the American Geophysical Union. “The planes remained on the ground and the U.S. avoided a potential nuclear weapon exchange with the Soviet Union.”
To read more, click here.