Horizon: Solar Storms - The Threat to Planet Earth

Horizon: Solar Storms - The Threat to Planet Earth

Series 48



“We are playing a game of Russian roulette with our Sun,” warns a scientist in this enlightening film about space weather. You wonder if he and others in the programme are perhaps hyping the risks of solar storms for the sake of their budgets, but no, the danger is real: when a solar flare erupts it does so with the power of a billion atom bombs (that’s right – a billion atom bombs), flinging a chunk of the Sun at us in a hail of magnetism, x-rays and energetic protons. That can knock out power grids and fry satellites, so forecasting space weather matters.

We meet the experts who do that, and we see some very cool experiments. But really, the best bits are just the trippy footage of the Sun’s churning plasma. You could watch it for hours.


Scientists predict a fit of violent activity on the sun which will propel billions of tonnes of superheated gas and pulses of energy towards Earth. In 1989 one of these solar storms, which has the power to close down modern technology, cut off the power to the Canadian city of Quebec. Horizon meets the weathermen as they try to predict what is coming and organisations like the National Grid as they prepare for the cosmic tempest.

Cast & Crew

Director Ben Fox
Producer Ben Fox
Series Editor Aidan Laverty
Documentary Science