Solstorm is named after renowned astrophysicist Kristian Birkeland, who in 1896 theorized that the Aurora borealis is produced by solar flares hitting the Earths magnetosphere. Birkeland conducted laboratory experiments and organized expeditions to study the behavior of the Northern Lights and the connection between this and disturbances of the Earth's magnetic field.

In the years 1897–1903, he led three expeditions to Finnmark, Iceland and Svalbard to study the northern lights and Earth magnetism, and a possible impact on the weather. Birkeland's aurora borealis research was ahead of its time, and it was not until modern satellites and space probes could be used for measurements that his theories were confirmed.

The existence of the magnetosphere around the earth is also one of Birkeland's early theories. Birkeland described solar storms, and that a large part of the universe is invisible interstellar mass, theories that have also been confirmed in recent times. Today, Birkeland is considered the first space scientist, but in his day, his theories were refuted by many leading scientists.

Birkeland together with Carl Strømer on an expedition in Alta.