When Morse’s dot-dash telegraph was in full swing in 1859, the strongest solar storm on record occurred. In a three-stage process X-ray and ultraviolet-soaked sunlight ionised Earth’s upper atmosphere, disrupting radio waves; followed by a radiation storm; and closing with a coronal mass ejection (CME) that collided with Earth’s magnetic field, causing powerful electromagnetic fluctuations. It is these fluctuations that caused telegraphs to spark and shock workers, disrupting communications across the globe.
Funny how the thing that gives us life could take away so much? It really makes you stop and realise how fragile this delicate network of nodes and servers is.