Solar Flare: What If Biggest Known Sun Storm Hit Today?
Repeat of 1859 space-weather event could paralyze modern life, experts say.
(Related: "Biggest Solar Storm in Eight Years Now Pummeling Earth.")
As solar storms go, the two March 6 solar flares associated with Thursday's geomagnetic storm around Earth may not compare to the flares behind the 1859 storm. But, since the sun hasn't yet reached peak activity for this solar cycle, this week's outburst may be only a taste of flares to come.
"The sun has an activity cycle, much like hurricane season," Tom Bogdan, director of the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado, said \at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C. in 2011.
After "hibernating for four or five years, not doing much of anything," the sun began waking up