Read Wikipedia, The Solar Storm of 1859: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859
Telegraph systems all over Europe and North America failed, in some cases even shocking telegraph operators. Telegraph pylons threw sparks and telegraph paper spontaneously caught fire.
We have a small re-enactment of that event going on today. Just be aware that events like this have the possibility of knocking out power. And since there were no electronic car parts, or computers, or cell phone towers in 1859, think of what might happen today if all those electronic parts got fried by an extremely strong solar flare. It is definitely something to think about.
A massive solar storm arrived at Earth early Thursday, and is expected to shake the globe's magnetic field until early Friday morning, while expanding the Northern Lights.
A giant blast of plasma spat from the sun at as much as 4 million miles per hour Tuesday -- by some measures the largest solar event since late 2006 -- and it could lead to serious issues on Earth, forcing some planes to reroute, knocking out power grids, and blacking out radios.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/03/07/sun-fires-off-2-huge-solar-flares-could-impact-weather-on-earth/?intcmp=features#ixzz1oXne5ZM8