During the morning of September 1st 1859, then 33 years old, Richard Carrington witnessed an extraordinary event. On Thursday morning around 11:18, he was observing sunspots using his private observatory telescope of Redhill. It was an equatorial Simms telescope of 11.5 cm opening and 132 cm focal length. Carrington had undertaken to study the formation of sunspots. His telescope projected an 28 cm image of the sun from which he reproduced thoroughly sunspots in its register. The sun was very active during that year. As he drew a group of sunspots, he saw two kidney-shaped beads of white light appear above them. He had just been witnessing a very rare event known today as a white light solar flare. He hurried to fetch a witness in his house. Upon his return, in the space of one minute, the phenomenon had almost entirely disappeared. Carrington witnessed a very rare event that has never been seen until now.