Glossary term: Geomagnetic Storm

Description: In addition to the Sun's output of electromagnetic radiation, there is a steady flow of charged particles leaving the Sun, known as solar wind. Certain types of solar activity – solar flares, and the more dramatic coronal mass ejections – can suddenly and drastically increase the amount of charged particles leaving the Sun, creating a shock front within the solar wind, travelling outwards. If parts of that shock front reach our home planet they interact with Earth's magnetic field, creating a geomagnetic storm (sometimes also called a solar storm). The consequences range from the harmless – increased and more beautiful polar lights (aurorae) – to harmful interactions that can damage satellites, disturb broadcasts, and in extreme cases disrupt electric power grids.

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Term and definition status: This term and its definition have been approved by a research astronomer and a teacher

The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".