On This Day
1859 – One of the largest coronal mass ejections ever recorded, later to be known as the Carrington Event, occurs.
A coronal mass ejection (CME) is a significant release of plasma and accompanying magnetic field from the solar corona. They often follow solar flares and are normally present during a solar prominence eruption. The plasma is released into the solar wind, and can be observed in coronagraph imagery.
Coronal mass ejections are often associated with other forms of solar activity, but a broadly accepted theoretical understanding of these relationships has not been established. CMEs most often originate from active regions on the Sun’s surface, such as groupings of sunspots associated with frequent flares. Near solar maxima, the Sun produces about three CMEs every day, whereas near solar minima, there is about one CME every five days.
The largest recorded geomagnetic perturbation, resulting presumably from a CME hitting the Earth’s magnetosphere, was the solar storm of 1859 (the Carrington Event), which took down parts of the recently created US telegraph network, starting fires and shocking some telegraph operators.
Born On This Day
1884 – Hilda Rix Nicholas, Australian artist (d. 1961)
Hilda Rix Nicholas (née Rix, later Wright, 1 September 1884 – 3 August 1961)[notes 1] was an Australian artist. Rix was born in the Victorian city of Ballarat. Her father was an education administrator and poet, her mother was a musician and artist. She studied under a leading member of the Heidelberg School, Frederick McCubbin, at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School from 1902 to 1905 and was an early member of the Melbourne Society of Women Painters and Sculptors. Following the death of her father in 1907, Rix, her only sibling Elsie and her mother travelled to Europe where she undertook further study in London and then in Paris. Her teachers during the period included John Hassall, Richard Emil Miller and Théophile Steinlen.
After travelling to Tangiers in 1912, Rix held several successful exhibitions of her work, with one drawing, Grande marche, Tanger, purchased by the French government. She was one of the first Australians to paint post-impressionist landscapes, was made a member of the Société des Peintres Orientalistes Français, and had works hung in the Paris Salon first in 1911 and again in 1913. The family evacuated from France to England after the outbreak of World War I. A period of personal tragedy followed, as Rix’s sister died in 1914, then her mother in 1915. In 1916 she met and married George Matson Nicholas, only to be widowed the next month when he was killed on the Western Front.
Returning to Australia in 1918, Rix Nicholas once more took up professional painting, and held an exhibition of over a hundred works at Melbourne’s Guild Hall. Many sold, including In Picardy, purchased by the National Gallery of Victoria. Following a period painting in rural locations in the early 1920s, Rix Nicholas returned to Europe. A 1925 exhibition in Paris led to the sale of her work In Australia to the Musée du Luxembourg, followed by an extensive tour of her paintings around regional British art galleries. There followed representation in other exhibitions, including at the International Society of Sculptors, Painters and Gravers, and the Royal Academy of Arts, both in London. Following the inclusion of several works in the 1926 Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts Spring exhibition in Paris she was made an Associate of that organisation.
In 1926, Rix Nicholas returned to Australia, and in 1928 she married Edgar Wright, whom she had met during her travels in the early 1920s. The couple settled at Delegate, New South Wales; their only child, a son named Rix Wright, was born in 1930. Though she continued to paint significant works including The Summer House and The Fair Musterer, Rix Nicholas, a staunch critic of modernism who was disdainful of the works of emerging major artists such as Russell Drysdale and William Dobell, grew out of step with trends in Australian art. Her pictures remained didactic, portraying an Australian pastoral ideal, and reviews of her exhibitions grew more uneven. She held her last solo show in 1947. Rix Nicholas remained at Delegate until her death in 1961. Her works are held in most major Australian collections, including the Art Gallery of South Australia, Australian War Memorial, National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, and the Queensland Art Gallery.
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