Warning: Illegal string offset 'LongName' in /home/windows/public_html/php/content_lib.php on line 382

Warning: Illegal string offset 'Name' in /home/windows/public_html/php/content_lib.php on line 382
Geomagnetic Storms - Windows to the Universe

Shop Windows to the Universe

Check out the fun Earth science related bumper stickers in our online store! Express yourself!
This picture shows material from the Sun coming towards the Earth. It is the Sun's magnetic field carried in this material that causes magnetic storms.

Geomagnetic Storms

Have you ever been in a storm here on Earth? Sometimes during storms we are familiar with, it rains, it lightnings and it gets really windy. There are other storms that happen too. They are called geomagnetic storms. "Geo" means the storms affect the Earth and "magnetic" means that they are magnetic storms (instead of rain or thunderstorms).

Basically, the Sun's magnetic field causes storms in our magnetic field. We need to understand these storms because sometimes they can have a bad effect on life here on Earth. Geomagnetic storms can affect radio communication, satellite drag, auroral activity and even the safety of astronauts in Earth orbit.

Last modified March 29, 2010 by Randy Russell.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes books on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist, mineral and fossil specimens, and educational games!

Windows to the Universe Community



You might also be interested in:

Cool It! Game

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

The Earth as a Magnet

The Earth has a magnetic field with north and south poles. The magnetic field of the Earth is surrounded by the magnetosphere. The magnetosphere keeps most of the particles from the sun, carried in solar...more

Spiral Path of Material

For a planet to be affected by a blob of material being ejected by the sun, the planet must be in the path of the blob, as shown in this picture. The Earth and its magnetosphere are shown in the bottom...more

The Expanding Auroral Oval

This picture shows a series of images of the auroral oval as it expands over the an hour's time because of a storm on the Sun. This is an animation of the auroral oval expanding....more

More on Recent Coronal Mass Ejection

A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. ACE measured some exciting things as the CME material passed...more

Ulysses Going Strong During Solar Maximum

Did you know that the Sun can affect the Earth? It can! During a time called solar maximum, the Sun is really active. That means it spits out lots of material. Some of it passes the Earth and can cause...more

Space Weather Effects on Pipelines

Pipelines for transporting oil, natural gas, and water are often made of conducting materials like steel. Very long pipelines (thousands of kilometers/miles) are used to transport oil and gas at high latitudes,...more

Confused Homing Pigeons and Space Weather

Certain animal species on Earth (such as the homing pigeon) are able to detect Earth's magnetic field and use it for navigational purposes. Homing pigeons have been known to reach home by flying over 1,6...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA