IMAGE Satellite

The IMAGE satellite helps astronomers to see geomagnetic storms. July 2000, one of the largest geomagnetic storms ever observed, after 1989, was captured. The Solar Proton Event was 100 MeV and 410 PFU.

The event caused problems for many satellites. The ACE satellite’s plasma sensor was contaminated and lost output from its solar wind velocity sensor. Other solar monitoring satellites, including SOHO, Yohkoh, and TRACE, were corrupted due to the solar proton event. ASCA, a Japanese satellite was lost. CHAMP GPS receiver was reset because of the events. 17 hours of science data from the QuickSAT was lost after communication bus crashes. NEAR experienced a two-day shutdown of the X-ray/Gamma-ray Spectrometer. The AKEBONO satellite only suffered minor trouble. The DoD spacecraft and the Microelectronics and Photonics Testbed satellite reported suffering higher error rates than usual.

In addition to satellite malfunctions, there were electric power problems after the solar proton event. The New York Independent power system experienced trips of three capacitor banks. GICs in transformers were recorded. Voltage swings of 8,000 volts on 345,000 transformer systems occurred as well. New England and Northern Maine reported similar problems.

Nuclear power plants in Salem I, Salem II, and Hope Creek were reduced to 80% capacity after the storm. Hope Creek’s transformer experienced significant damage. SUNBURST experienced GICs at several sites. In Southern Virginia and surrounding areas, very high GICs were recorded. Aurora was observed from Manassas, Virginia, St. Louis, Missouri, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, and Bakersfield, California.