In 1859, a massive coronal mass ejection (CME) known as the Carrington Event slammed into Earth. Arorae, normally observable only near the poles, appeared in the sky as far south as Hawaii and Cuba, providing enough light to read by at night. The then-new global telegraph systems in Europe and America were brought down. Reports of sparking pylons and operators receiving electric shocks abounded – there were even accounts of people being able to send and receive messages over wires that had been disconnected from their power supplies.
Fast-forward to 2013. Our planet is orders of magnitude more dependent on its technology systems. And a solar event the size of the Carrington Event has not reoccurred since. How vulnerable are we should another one arrive?
Chris sits down with Dr. Lika Guhathakurta, NASA astrophysicist and heliophysics expert, to understand the science behind CMEs and their potential risk to our way of life.
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