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In fact, the biggest solar storm on record—the 1859 blast—happened during a solar maximum about the same size as the one we're entering, according to NASA.
In addition, the geomagnetic disturbances were strong enough that U.S. telegraph operators reported sparks leaping from their equipment—some bad enough to set fires, said Ed Cliver, a space physicist at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory in Bedford, Massachusetts.