In 1859, a solar flare – observed by the astronomer Richard Carrington – affected the Earth, interrupting all telegraph communications. In some places, the paper in the telegraph machines actually started to burn, and operators were electrocuted. The arctic and Antarctic Northern and Southern lights appeared as far North and South as the tropics – in Queensland, in Cuba, in Hawaii. In Northern regions they were so bright that people could read by them. Some got out of bed in the middle of the night, convinced it was morning.
But it was over in two days.
Recently interest in the event has been re-ignited by speculation of how a similar “solar storm” would impact Earth today if all our modern communications went down. Could the planet survive two days without internet?