geomagnetic storm


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GEOMAGNETIC STORM led to the destruction of the 40 Starlink satellites. These satellites were designed to burn up upon reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere, resulting in no space debris. The loss of 40 satellites — the majority of a launch batch — in a single solar event, on the other hand, has been described as “unheard of” and “huge.”

Sun & Geomagnetic storm

Severe space weather is caused by the Sun. Geomagnetic storms are caused by large, violent eruptions of plasma and magnetic fields from the Sun’s corona, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs). Solar energetic particles (SEPs) are high-energy particles composed of electrons and coronal and solar wind ions produced by CME shock waves (mainly protons). When CMEs strike the Earth, they cause geomagnetic storms that disrupt the Earth’s magnetic field. A geomagnetic storm takes two to three days to reach Earth and affect the Earth’s geomagnetic field after a CME launches from the Sun.

Disturbances in the geomagnetic field of the Earth can disrupt the operation of critical infrastructures that rely on space-based assets, but they can also have terrestrial consequences, such as disrupting electricity distribution networks. Geomagnetic storms can have a negative impact on the signal strength of a satellite, such as signals from GPS satellites (GPS). During a geomagnetic storm, the total electron content of the Earth’s ionosphere increases, increasing the density of the ionosphere and causing signal propagation delays to and from satellites. A range delay of about 15 metres corresponds to a value of 90 total electron content-TEC units, for example.

What is a geomagnetic Storm?

Geomagnetic Storm are magnetic disturbances in Earth’s magnetosphere caused by energetic charged particles emanating from the sun known as the solar wind. While our magnetosphere, the system of magnetic fields that surround Earth, deflects most of these particles, some get through. These storms can be mild and create beautiful auroras in the sky, but they can also interfere with our technology in serious ways.

  • Geomagnetic Storm occur when a burst of solar wind—charged particles from the sun—collapses with the Earth’s magnetic field, generating charged particles and currents in the earth’s upper atmosphere.
  • They are caused by the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots, which are “black” regions on the sun that are cooler than the surrounding photosphere, and can last a few minutes or hours.
  • The surge heats and thickens the upper atmosphere, and satellites in low Earth orbit are pulled back to Earth, hurtling back to the ground.
  • It has the potential to disrupt the operation of space-dependent services such as global positioning systems (GPS), radio communications, and satellite communications. Geomagnetic Storm disrupt radio communications and GPS navigation devices.
  • The geomagnetic storm experienced by the STARLINK satellites was caused by solar wind released by a coronal mass ejection (a type of solar eruption) on Jan. 30, 2022.

Examples of the worst geomagnetic Storm?

October-November 2003 Halloween event,
the Quebec Power Outage of 1989,
the Carrington Event of 1859
Examples of the worst geomagnetic Storm

The October-November 2003 Halloween event, the Quebec Power Outage of 1989, and the Carrington Event of 1859 were three major geomagnetic storms. The vulnerability of various types of infrastructure to geomagnetic storms is demonstrated by these three historical severe geomagnetic storms.

The most famous geomagnetic storm of all time was the Carrington Storm of 1859. This event, as it is now called, was originally named by Richard Carrington after his observation of a solar flare and subsequent coronal mass ejection on September 1st. The storm itself began with an increase in auroral sightings and magnetic disturbances on September 2nd and 3rd respectively.

geomagnetic storm
geomagnetic storm

Effects of geomagnetic Storm on communications

Imagine the internet being down for just one day. No emails, no Instagram, no Facebook, and so on. This is what can happen when geomagnetic Storm occur.According to the Index of Objects Launched into Outer Space, maintained by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, there were 7,389 individual satellites in Space at the end of April, 2021, an increase of 27.97% compared to 2020., which are used for everything from GPS to wireless phone networks. These satellites are at risk of being disrupted by a geomagnetic storm.

Geomagnetic Storm can cause power outages, disrupt GPS and radio communications, and lead to blackouts. These Storm occur as the sun begins to emerge from its solar minimum. The last solar minimum occurred in 2008, so it would be expected that geomagnetic Storm are occurring now.

What are Sunspots?

You may not think of the sun as having a cycle, but it does. The rise and fall of sunspots, which are dark blemishes on the sun’s surface, or photosphere, is how the cycle is marked. If you looked at a graph of sunspot activity over time, you would see that every 11 years there is a solar maximum, then a solar minimum, and then another solar maximum, and so on.

There is a natural solar cycle that the sun goes through about every 11 years. The rise and fall of sunspots, which are dark blemishes on the sun’s surface, or photosphere, is how the cycle is marked. 

Sunspots are visible as dark blemishes on the sun’s surface, or photosphere. Sunspots are caused when intense magnetic activity builds up in the lower part of the sun’s atmosphere. Sunspots occur when strong magnetic fields from within the solar interior penetrate into the photosphere, confusing the convective currents that move heat outward from the sun’s core. When this happens, heat cannot flow properly and a sunspot is formed.

Solar storms are high-speed ejections of magnetic plasma from the sun’s surface. They occur as a result of the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots (‘dark’ regions of the Sun that are cooler than the surrounding photosphere) and can last for a few minutes or hours.

The Starlink programme is a satellite communication system manufactured by SpaceX, which was founded and run by Elon Musk. The goal of the programme is to send communication satellites into orbit around the earth, which will provide high-speed internet for people all over the world.

The Starlink programme was created as a result of Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX.

  • Starlink is a SpaceX project that aims to create a broadband network comprising thousands of orbiting satellites.
  • The Starlink satellites have thrusters called Hall thrusters, which use electricity and krypton gas to move them around in space, keep them at a certain altitude, and guide them back into the Earth’s atmosphere at the end of their mission.
  • The Starlink network is one of many projects that are working to send data signals from space.

High altitude satellites vs. low altitude satellites

Satellites are objects that orbit the Earth. The altitude of a satellite can range from low (a few hundred km) to high (terrestrial space). Satellites at lower altitudes are closer to Earth and able to collect more data than those at higher altitudes. High altitude satellites provide broader, global coverage for studying weather patterns, monitoring vegetation, and aiding navigation.


In conclusion, geomagnetic Storm can cause power outages, disrupt GPS and radio communications, and lead to blackouts. This is an issue that needs to be addressed because it causes significant damage not only to technology but also to humans. We need to find ways to protect against geomagnetic Storm that could disrupt our technology if left unchecked.


How does a geomagnetic storm affect humans?

A geomagnetic storm, also known as a solar storm, happens when the earth’s magnetosphere is strongly affected by solar flares and coronal mass ejections. Geomagnetic Storm are measured by the K-index, which evaluates the disturbance level of the earth’s magnetic field. When geomagnetic Storm occur, they can affect humans in many ways. They can cause power grid failures, hampering communication and monitoring operations.

What happens during a geomagnetic storm?

For those who may not know, a geomagnetic storm is a disturbance of the Earth’s magnetic field. Geomagnetic Storm often follow solar wind outbursts and can be hazardous to high-latitude power systems, satellite operations, and radio communications.
Though most geomagnetic Storm are harmless, they can cause spectacular auroras as well as long-lasting anomalies in the Earth’s magnetic field that disturb compass readings and the operation of satellites.

What was the worst geomagnetic storm?

The earth was hit with its worst geomagnetic storm on March 13, 1989. These storms can disrupt communications and electric grids, but this one affected the whole planet. It lit up the sky like daytime for 15 minutes in some places, caused by an eruption on the Sun. The surge of radiation reached Earth with enough force to melt telegraph lines and ruin hundreds of expensive satellites.

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