The strongest geomagnetic storm on record is the Carrington Event, named for British astronomer Richard Carrington who observed the Sept. 1, 1859, solar flare that triggered the event. Telegraph systems worldwide went haywire. Spark discharges shocked telegraph operators and set their telegraph paper on fire. Just before dawn the next day, skies all over Earth erupted in red, green, and purple auroras – the result of energy and particles from the Sun interacting with Earth’s atmosphere. Reportedly, the auroras were so brilliant that newspapers could be read as easily as in daylight. The auroras, or Northern Lights, were visible as far south as Cuba, the Bahamas, Jamaica, El Salvador, and Hawaii.