In 1859, the sun ejected a solar flare so powerful it turned skies purple, green and red. But besides a few frazzled telegraph wires it was a mostly harmless affair.
However, if the Carrington Event struck Earth today, scientists believe it would leave a trail of destruction costing up to $2tn (£1.5tn).
As Buzz60 explains in a captivating new video (see above), a solar flare of comparable force would now knock out satellites and a considerable portion of the power grid. Thousands of pilots would be forced to make urgent landings without GPS.
In the best case scenario, we’d have a day to prepare. In the worst, just a few minutes.