Scientists have revealed that Earth came perilously close to a solar storm that could have 'changed life as we know it', causing widespread power failures and knocking out GPS and communication networks.
On July 23, 2012, a plasma cloud or 'CME' rocketed away from the sun as fast as 3000 km/s, more than four times faster than a typical eruption.
Had the eruption occurred just one week earlier, the blast site would have been facing Earth, rather than off to the side.
Scientists say the eruption may have been the most violent ever recorded.
Analysts believe that a direct hit could cause widespread power blackouts, disabling everything that plugs into a wall socket.
Most people wouldn’t even be able to flush their toilet because urban water supplies largely rely on electric pumps, one report warned.