Quote: 'The largest ever solar super-storm on record occurred in 1859 and is known as the Carrington Event, named after the English astronomer Richard Carrington, who spotted the preceding solar flare.
This massive CME released about 1022 kJ of energy – the equivalent to 10 billion Hiroshima bombs exploding at the same time – and hurled around a trillion kilograms of charged particles towards the Earth at speeds of up to 3000 km/s. Its impact on the human population, though, was relatively benign as our electronic infrastructure at the time amounted to no more than about 200 000 km of telegraph lines'.
Such a storm would wreak havoc with our communication systems and power supplies, crippling vital services such as transport, sanitation and medicine. Without power, people would struggle to fuel their cars at petrol stations, get money from cash dispensers or pay online. Water and sewage systems would be affected too, meaning that health epidemics in urbanized areas would quickly take a grip, with diseases we thought we had left behind centuries ago soon returning.
Scientist warns of inevitable solar super-storm propelled towards Earth