Extreme ultraviolet light streams out of an X-class solar flare as seen in this image captured on March 29, 2014, by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. This image blends two wavelengths of light: 304 and 171 Angstroms, which help scientists observe the lower levels of the sun's atmosphere.(NASA)
You asked us. What would happen if a solar flare hit the Earth?
Let's be really picky about it. A solar flare can't hit the Earth. It's an eruption on the surface of the sun. But a big flare can send a solar super storm flying towards earth. It could blast us back into the days before electricity.
It's hard to describe how much scary stuff comes out of a solar super storm. There are hot gasses moving at near light speeds. There is deadly radiation. There are insane magnetic fields. You name it.
We had a taste of a pretty big solar storm back in 1859. It knocked out the entire telegraph system in the U.S. And it literally threw some of the operators out of their seats.
Fast forward to today. We're so completely dependent on technology. That means things could get really ugly. A storm as powerful as the 1859 version will probably fry a lot of satellites. And it could take down our electrical grid. Millions of people could be without light. They be without water. They could be without fuel and sewage treatment. They could also be without fresh food and medications. This could last for months.
And not to mention money. Your cash machine will be useless.