Can a solar flare destroy every electronic item on earth?
I was reading a book about the sun which suggested that a solar flare can destroy every electronic item on Earth. Is this really true and if so, how would it happen? Could we do anything to to prevent it?
Which book? And are you sure it talked about "flares". Give exact quotes and references if possible.
Here's the how: very energetic charged particles interact with the Earth's magnetic field, and when they do so they emit electromagnetic radiation. If the energy of this radiation was high enough then when it reached wires/conductors at the Earth's surface the opposite effect would take place: ie the EM radiation would result in the flow of charged particles (a current). Such currents, if strong enough, could damage very many electronic and electric devices.
As to the possibility: it seems unlikely that such a high energy event would take place (ie to destroy all/nearly all electronic equipment), but it could be possible. We don't have sufficient data.