Scientists are warning of the devastating impact that extreme solar storms could have here on Earth by knocking out our communication systems and disrupting electronics – possibly for years.
Solar storms are the eruptions of mass and energy from the surface of our sun. The sudden release of huge amounts of magnetic energy from the solar storms can collide with Earth’s own magnetic field.
Solar storms cause amazing aurora displays over the Earth, but at their most extreme, could significantly disrupt Earth’s communications satellites and shut down air travel, computers and telephones.
It is unclear when a storm of this magnitude could hit but scientists are urging governments to be prepared.
The largest geomagnetic storm on record, the Carrington event, took place in 1859, knocking out telegraph systems across Europe and the US. In 2012 a solar storm of similar power occurred but passed the Earth's orbit without striking.