Scientists have been telling us for years that a large solar flare could decimate our electrical grid and send us back to the 1800's in terms of technology. How likely are we to get 'The Big One' in the next few days? 

Spaceweather.com reported that a sunspot located just behind the sun's northeastern limb exploded yesterday,  producing "a significant solar flare," according to NOAA analysts. NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft, stationed over the farside of the sun, recorded the extreme ultraviolet flash:

NASA.gov

When flares occur on the Earthside of the sun, we classify them according to their X-ray intensity: C (weak), M (medium), or X (strong). Farside explosions, however, cannot be precisely classified because none of the spacecraft stationed over the farside of the sun are equipped with X-ray sensors. Based on the appearance of the flare at UV wavelengths, plus other factors such as the CME and radiation storm, we would guess that this was a strong-M or X-class event. - Spaceweather.com

A major X-class solar flare could cripple our electrical grid to an extent that it would take years to repair. Despite all those 'shovel-ready' jobs we threw money at a few years ago, almost nothing has been done to protect our electrical grid from such an event.

NASA.gov

The good news is the flare was on the far side of the sun and the blast directed away from us. The bad news: Earth-directed solar activity could be just a few days away.

This might be a good time to back up your data and buy some SPF 5000.