[click on the headline above, to read the entire article]
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, when the ignition spot on the solar surface was aimed at Earth, it would have hit the planet, 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.
A great many theists like to think Human Beings, His "Special Creations" are sheltered in His arms and totally ignore the fact that space and the cosmos are not at all benign and very friendly to life, especially our life. When I explain that the cosmos is a very unfriendly and incredibly dangerous place and even the Earth is presently in a very favorable period they ignore me and think I'm a crazy atheist. I had one space-cadet woman reply, when she asked if I thought climate change and global warming were real and replied in the affirmative, "do you really think God would allow man to make a mess of His Creation?" I knew there was no getting through to that religion terminally virus-infected mind and just walked away. If/when a large CME or a large asteroid does come our way they'll just think it's the end times as prophesied in that nefarious volume as we aren't prepared for any of it. They don't realize it's not a case of if, it's just when. Hell, they even went off the deep and over Dr. Tyson and the remake of Cosmos. . . sigh.
May I recommend Pournelle and Niven's incredible piece of fiction, Lucifer's Hammer? It's easy to find on Amazon and others, a great read and I've loaned out my well-worn copy several times.