Earth dodged a huge magnetic bullet from the sun on July 23, 2012.
According to University of California, Berkeley, and Chinese researchers, a rapid succession of coronal mass ejections -- the most intense eruptions on the sun -- sent a pulse of magnetized plasma barreling into space and through Earth's orbit. Had the eruption come nine days earlier, it would have hit Earth, potentially wreaking havoc with the electrical grid, disabling satellites and GPS, and disrupting our increasingly electronic lives.
The solar bursts would have enveloped Earth in magnetic fireworks matching the largest magnetic storm ever reported on Earth, the so-called Carrington event of 1859. The dominant mode of communication at that time, the telegraph system, was knocked out across the United States, literally shocking telegraph operators. Meanwhile, the Northern Lights lit up the night sky as far south as Hawaii.We can only dodge so many bullets. To read more, click here.