By Daniel Barker – Natural News
(NaturalNews) One morning in September, 1859, British astronomer Richard Carrington sat in his private observatory, drawing pictures of sunspots using a telescope which projected an image of the sun onto a screen.
As he drew and observed, there suddenly appeared a brilliant flash of white light on the surface of the sun. Startled, he ran to find witnesses to what he realized was a very unusual event, but by the time he returned, the massive solar flare that Carrington observed had mostly dissipated.
The next morning, shortly before dawn, skies around the globe lit up with colorful auroras so bright that “newspapers could be read as easily as in daylight,” as NASA describes the event.
In those days, of course, there was no electrical “grid” as we now have, but there were telegraph networks in various parts the world.
From the NASA website:
Telegraph systems worldwide went haywire. Spark discharges shocked telegraph operators and set the telegraph paper on fire. Even when telegraphers disconnected the batteries powering the lines, aurora-induced electric currents in the wires still allowed messages to be transmitted.
If a solar flare of such magnitude hit the earth now with a gigantic burst of charged particles — and scientist say it is a matter of “when,” not “if” — our electrical grid would almost certainly be disabled, if not completely destroyed.