Sunday, March 18, 2012

Solar Flares from Giant Sunspot May Disrupt GPS

solar flares

If you live in certain parts of the world, you may have noticed some rather odd GPS readings during the last couple of weeks. Well, as it turns out, the GPS signal has been dealing with some interference from a giant and very active sunspot.

Cnet reported that the sunspot is the largest to be seen in 24 years. Code named AR 12192, this sunspot is large enough to be seen with the naked eye (provided you have proper eye protection) and has been sending out solar flares in the last couple of weeks which have disrupted radio and GPS signals several times.

NASA has been tracking the sunspot and while it is currently on the far side of the sun, away from the earth, it emitted around six solar flares in the last week or so, causing some issues with GPS signals. It might sound like a big deal, but really all that is happening is that GPS accuracy is decreased slightly for an hour or so.

You can get alerts of solar flares and other activity here. Or check reports of GPS outages here.

 

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