Page last updated at 08:54 GMT, Sunday, 30 August 2009 09:54 UK

Solar flares could 'damage' Earth


Space scientist Dr Maggie Adairin-Pocock explains how powerful explosions on the Sun's surface could cause widespread damage to communications systems on Earth.

The last time this happened on a large scale was 150 years ago when the Great Solar Flare - as it was known - took out the telegraph system.

It was described as a one-in-500-year event

Dr Adairin-Pocock says the Sun goes through a number of different cycles, including the familiar 11-year cycle.

She says that in 1989, a solar flare managed to "take out" power stations in Quebec and since technology has advanced at a rapid rate, the communications system would be more at risk now.


Story Tools


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific