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IPFS News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Now We Know How a Solar Storm Took Out a Fleet of Starlinks

• Universe Today

At the other end of the space weather spectrum are solar storms that can knock out satellites. The folks at Starlink found that out the hard way in February 2022. On January 29th that year, the Sun belched out a class M 1.1 flare and related coronal mass ejection. Material from the Sun traveled out on the solar wind and arrived at Earth a few days later. On February 3, Starlink launched a group of 49 satellites to an altitude only 130 miles above Earth's surface. They didn't last long, and now solar physicists know why.

A group of researchers from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the Catholic University of America took a closer look at the specifics of that storm. Their analysis identified a mass of plasma that impacted our planet's magnetosphere. The actual event was a halo coronal mass ejection from an active region in the northeast quadrant of the Sun.