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On March 13, 1989 a severe geomagnetic storm caused the collapse of the Hydro-Québec power grid in a matter of seconds as equipment protection relays tripped in a cascading sequence of events. Six million people were left without power for nine hours, with significant economic loss. The storm even caused auroras as far south as Texas. The geomagnetic storm causing this event was itself the result of a coronal mass ejection, ejected from the Sun on March 9, 1989.In August 1989, another storm affected microchips, leading to a halt of all trading on Toronto's stock market.
Since 1989, power companies in North America, the UK, Northern Europe and elsewhere evaluated the risks of geomagnetically induced currents (GIC) and developed mitigation strategies.
Since 1995, geomagnetic storms and solar flares have been monitored from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) joint-NASA-European Space Agency satellite.
On February 26, 2008 the magnetic fields erupted inside the magnetotail, releasing about 1015 Joules of energy. The blast launched two gigantic clouds of protons and electrons, one toward Earth and one away from Earth. The Earth-directed cloud crashed into the planet below, sparking vivid auroras in Canada and Alaska.