The astronomer who saw the solar flare of 1859

Can our  technology withstand a major solar storm?

In 1859, the world witnessed a rare event. Indeed, the earth was struck by the most violent solar storm ever recorded. Despite the dramatic effect, the people have observed, they were relatively well protected. Without the protection of Earth's magnetosphere, life forms will be constantly bombarded by solar radiation. Terrestrial life as we know it would be impossible. Over time, the solar wind would gradually strip our atmosphere making our world more and more sterile. 
The chances of a solar storm of this magnitude happen again are still possible. However, certain conditions must be present. Normally, higher intensity solar storms develop during maximum solar activity. Every eleven years the sun is entering a more active period. During this period the sun spots are more abundant. At the maximum of its activity, the Sun's magnetic field reverses. In principle, for a solar storm hits the earth, it should take place during the period of maximum activity and more, it should occur in the solar  region facing the earth. 
I think it is possible that these conditions reoccur again one day. However, I think that humans are not in danger about such natural events. Until now, the Earth's magnetic field, had always protected us from the dangerous solar winds. The danger resides more in our telecommunications technologies and power systems. A massive solar storm could seriously disrupt our telecommunications and electricity supply for several hours or even for several days.

The astronomer who saw the extraordinary solar flare of 1859

      Richard Christopher Carrington was born May 26, 1826 in Chelsea, England. His father was a wealthy  brewery owner in Brentford. He married Esther Clark Aplin in 1823. Richard Carrington had the opportunity to receive a private education at Hedley school. His father had already planned that his son would exercise a religious profession. For this, he made ​​sure that Richard spent some time at the residence of a certain Blogard who was a clergyman. Subsequently, Richard Carrington continued his education at Trinity College of Cambridge. He graduated in 1848. Until then, the life of Carrington was rather that of his father's will. It was during a lecture on astronomy by Professor James Challis that Carrington decided to pursue his true passion. With the consent of his father, he began his career as an observer in astronomy at the University of Durham. In March 1852, Richard Carrington resigned from the University of Durham. He then decided to buy his own equipments and build an observatory. He found a suitable site to establish his observatory near Redhill Reigate and Banstead Borough, Surrey, England. Demonstrating a passion for astronomy, he  observed the sun during the day and  mapped the stars at night.

      In 1858, the death of his father forced him to take control of the brewery. Despite all the efforts and the tremendous work that Richard Carrington  made ​​in astronomy, he was not chosen as director of the Cambridge observatory. The disappointment of not being able to realize his dream and the workload imposed upon him by the brewery forced him to close the observatory at Redhill. In 1865, health problems led him to sell the brewery. Subsequently, he moved to Churt, Surrey, where he erected a new observatory but never use it seriously. In 1875 his wife passed away. A few days later, Richard Christopher Carrington died of a  cerebral hemorrhage.


Carrington Solar flare event  1859