The most powerful solar flare in history

A powerful solar flare directed toward the Earth is one of the most popular candidates for the culprit of the end of the world. While it is unlikely that our Sun is capable of producing a flare powerful enough to wipe out life from the face of the Earth, it is enough to cause a real collapse on the planet. A powerful energy storm can not only disable constellations of satellites, but also bring most electronics to a standstill: isn't that the end of the world for the modern information world?

Solar flares occur regularly. Some of them, directed toward Earth, alert us to their presence by auroras, even in places where they do not normally occur. But really powerful flares, which are very dangerous, are quite rare.

So when did the most powerful solar flare in history occur? So widely known is the event of 1859, when as a result of solar activity on Earth began a powerful geomagnetic storm. Telegraph systems malfunctioned everywhere on the planet, and auroras and flares in the sky were observed all over the world.

But this storm is nothing compared to the event that took place in 774. Scientists were able to find echoes of it in the annual rings of Japanese cedars, where large deposits of radioactive carbon-14 are preserved. Judging by its quantity, the 744 solar flare was 20 times more powerful than the one that occurred in 1859. According to a rough estimate, about 200 joules of energy were released on the Sun at that time.

People who lived at that time observed the most powerful glow in the sky and most likely felt a deterioration in their well-being. But these days, the consequences would have been much worse - most of the planet would have been de-energized, we would have been left without the usual types of communication. Entire sectors of the economy would be unable to continue their work. Who knows: perhaps the next such outbreak will happen as soon as tomorrow?


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