Solar Events (Space Weather) – Notable


Table: Solar Events (Space Weather) – Notable

Date Event

“Anomalous current” noted on telegraph line between Derby and Birmingham. First recorded impact of solar weather on technology.[1]

1859 August-September

The strongest geomagnetic storm on record is the Carrington Event of August-September in 1859, named after the British astronomer Richard Carrington. During this event currents electrified telegraph lines, shocking technicians and setting their telegraph papers on fire; and Northern Lights (electrically charged particles from the sun that enter Earth’s atmosphere) were visible as far south as Cuba and Hawaii.[2]

1921 May

The May 16, 1921 geomagnetic storm was one of the largest geomagnetic storms causes worldwide disruption of telegraph service and damage to electrical equipment.[3] The “Great Storm” disrupted telegraph service, caused fires, burned out cables. Storms like this may occur roughly every 100 years.[4]

1989 March

A significant space weather event took place on March 13,1989. A powerful geomagnetic storm set off a major power blackout in Canada that left six million people without electricity for nine hours. According to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), the flare disrupted electric power transmission from the Hydro Québec generating station and even melted some power transformers in New Jersey. NASA stated, however, that this 1989 space weather event was nowhere near the same scale as the Carrington event.[5]

2003 October-November

Through October 19 – November 7, 2003, the “Halloween Storms” interrupted GPS, blacked out High Frequency (HF) radio, forced emergency procedures at nuclear power plants in Canada and the Northeastern United States, and destroyed several large electrical power transformers in South Africa.[6]


  1. FEMA – Critical Communications During and After a Solar Superstorm:
  2. – Space Weather:
  3. NASA Science News – Severe Space Weather:
  4. FEMA – Critical Communications During and After a Solar Superstorm:
  5. – Space Weather:
  6. FEMA – Critical Communications During and After a Solar Superstorm: