What is a solar storm? ISRO stood like a wall and kept its satellites safe.

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
4 Min Read

New Delhi: Recently some solar storms were observed in the solar system, although these storms did not cause any damage to Indian satellites. Let us tell you that ISRO was already in alert mode regarding this storm. In fact, the powerful solar storm that hit Earth on May 8 and 9 was one of the most powerful storms in the last twenty years. This solar storm was expected to impact not only the Earth but also the planet's surrounding infrastructure and even the Moon. During this storm, spacecraft around the Earth and the Moon were also greatly affected due to the plasma released from the Sun. These plasma explosions are called coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and they extend throughout the inner Solar System. About 50 Indian satellites were working in Earth's orbit and their safety was in danger. Let us tell you that two years ago in February 2022, due to being hit by a geomagnetic storm from the Sun, more than 35 Starlink satellites started falling back to Earth after being launched just a few days earlier.

What is a solar storm?

Due to activities on the Sun, plasma and other matter spread throughout the Solar System, forming solar storms. These storms release energy in the form of solar flares, coronal mass ejections (CMEs) or solar winds. When these charged particles hit the Earth's atmosphere, they interact with the Earth's magnetic field. This can cause geomagnetic storms. These storms can affect many things on Earth, including satellite communications, power grids, and GPS navigation systems. Additionally, increased radiation may also pose a threat to astronauts and airplane passengers.

How is ISRO making rescue strategy?

ISRO's Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan in Karnataka and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh protects the satellites orbiting our planet by providing round-the-clock surveillance. Completes tasks related to their operation throughout life. These tasks include continuous tracking, receiving data, and providing instructions to the satellites. The MCF team remained vigilant, keeping an eye out for signs of geomagnetic storms and moving quickly to protect the satellites as material from the Sun moved toward Earth. Was ready to work. When the solar storm came closer to the Earth, some changes were observed in the behavior of the spacecraft, which increased concern. Especially in satellites that had panels on only one side, changes in the speed of the speed-keeping wheels and electrical currents were observed. Due to this, the MCF team instructed the satellites to repair themselves.

As energy levels increased, posing a threat to satellites, ISRO's pre-emptive measures came into play. With precision and foresight, some sensors were disabled as a precaution so that critical systems could continue to function. However, ISRO's 30 geostationary satellites remained completely untouched by the storm and continued their work. It is noteworthy that the satellites monitoring the Earth also continued to work without any interruption. But, the impact of the solar storm was not entirely negative. Due to increased density in the atmosphere due to the activity of the Sun, the pull of satellites towards the Earth could have increased slightly, which could have required early intervention. ISRO has confirmed that so far the Navigation Center has not received any significant degradation in navigation services, indicating that the impact of the geomagnetic storm is negligible.

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