Solar storm WARNING: Apocalyptic storm that hit Earth could again

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In this case it was a solar proton event or SPE, a particularly intense type of solar storm where the released particles include high-energy protons.

Luckily though, it was 660BC so that's where we were anyway.

Ancient ice cores from Greenland have yielded evidence of three solar "super storms" bigger than anything in recorded history, scientists say. They said that depending on the form it took, a repeat could cripple communications.

New research indicates that solar storms can be even more powerful than measurements have shown so far via direct observations.

Our planet is constantly being bombarded by cosmic particles.

During that solar storm, the sun unleashed a series of powerful solar flares that were so powerful telegraph operators' offices experienced a surge in electricity which resulted in some buildings setting on fire.

The team, who were studying ice nearly a third of a mile beneath the surface, found traces of the huge radiation blast which hit the earth during a storm in 660 BC, embedded in Greenland ice cores.

Professor Raimund Muscheler from Lund University and his colleagues from Korea, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, the United States, and France analyzed ice cores from Greenland in order to learn more about SPEs.

For the past 70 years, researchers have scrutinized these solar storms by undeviating instrumental pronouncement which has spearheaded to an apprehension of how they can cause a probability to the electrical grid, numerous communication systems, satellites and air traffic.

A strong wave of high-energy particles should be able to destroy most of the electronic devices which are now in use, including primary navigation and communication systems. In modern times, large solar storms led to widespread power outages in Quebec in 1989 and Sweden in 2003 - but those storm, scientists say, pale in comparison to the one that occurred more than 2,600 years ago.

The team of scientists, which examined the chemicals preserved in Greenland ice sheet, concluded that the storm was almost 10 times stronger than anything detected in past 70 years of modern measurements. "We need to be better prepared", Muscheler added.

'That's why we must increase society's protection against solar storms, ' said Prof Muscheler.

Researchers have also previously found similar events dated to 774-775 AD and 993-994 AD. He points out that even though these massive solar storms are rare, the new discovery shows that they are a naturally recurring effect of solar activity.

The scientists detailed their findings online March 11 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Our research suggests that the risks are now underestimated".

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