Throughout history, solar flares have swept the earth, creating nothing more than a planetwide light show for the human race. However, in the digital age, we are uniquely vulnerable. Even relatively weak events can destroy our uniquely vulnerable power grids – leaving whole regions in blackout for months, even years. Powerful events, like the 1859 Carrington Event, could destroy civilization as we know it – every electronic system would be destroyed with no hope of rebuilding in a short period of time.
Currently, we would only have 15 minutes notice for such an event. Yet, there are things we can do from hardening transformers, raising public awareness, and investing in prediction - something most power sector executives and regulators have quietly ignored. Here to shed light on the terrifying world of solar flares is Edl Schamiloglu, distinguished professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of New Mexico and world expert on all forms of pulsed electromagnetic radiation.