Weatherwatch: the havoc caused by solar storms

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UK group has put forward proposals for mitigating effects of any future solar storm

In May 1921, a giant sunspot erupted, ejecting masses of solar material towards the Earth. This solar storm produced auroras visible all the way to the equator, and a rash of fires.

A telegraph exchange in Sweden was the first to burst into flames, followed by a control tower near New York’s Grand Central Station. Long stretches of telegraph wire were acting as aerials; the resulting induced currents were strong enough to blow fuses and cause overheating, sometimes resulting in fires.

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