Weather in Space

Sunspots and Solar Activity

What were the Great Solar Storms of 1989

In March 1989 solar activity became much more active than usual, creating solar storms that sent out high energy particles into the Earth’s ionosphere. The storms had adverse effects on communications and weather satellites, and also resulted in spectacular aurorae that reached as far south as Mexico. The storms also affected power grids in some areas. Most notably, six million people in Quebec, Canada, experienced a blackout when circuit breakers and fuses overloaded. More recently, an even bigger solar storm occurred on Halloween 2003, mostly affecting Sweden with power outages and damaging 28 satellites, two of which were complete losses.


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