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Solar Storm Coming ... In Five Year


JohnTee
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I thought this article from AvWeb's AvFlash was interesting. May put a dent in our hobby!

 

JohnTee

 

AvFlash Article

 

March 13, 2006

NewsWire Complete Issue

 

By The AVweb Editorial Staff

 

Solar Storm Coming ... In Five Years

 

The future of satellite-based navigation may face its first big test just as we're getting used to using it. NASA scientists predict a major burst of solar activity in 2010 or 2011, enough to disrupt GPS and wireless data and communications. "The next sunspot cycle will be 30% to 50% stronger than the previous one," said Mausumi Dikpati, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Dikpati said conditions are ripe for a solar storm second only to one experienced in 1958 when Aurora Borealis (aka the Northern Lights), which is caused by sun spots, was visible in Mexico. The bands of energy also disrupt radio waves, something that could have a profound effect on the way we do business in five years. David Hathaway of the National Space Science & Technology Center (NSSTC) said the sun is currently quiet, with few flares and sunspots. But a pattern of energy flow he likens to conveyor belts is recharging the complex magnetic fields that create the solar outbursts and, based on previous observations of this 11-year cycle, the next period of activity is expected to be action-packed. And while the so-called Solar Max is a few years off, we'll start seeing evidence of sunspot activity much sooner. "I expect to see the first sunspots of the next cycle appear in late 2006 or 2007 -- and Solar Max to be underway by 2010 or 2011," Hathaway said.

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.....

I better start looking into another hobby for the year when I wont be able to geocache. Guess I will have spend my days posting to the forums. Wait I am doing that now.

 

:(

 

Great.. I'll have a whole year to catch up with all you guys that are up in the big numbers now... :o

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I'm a USAF weather forecaster, and we deal with solar weather daily. Solar flares happen quite often and do disrupt communications a bit, but are generally loacalized. Indonesia and that region often has HF communication problems. Also, we are coming up on the solar maximum around that time (the time in the 11 yr cycle when there are more flares/geomagnetic storms). My guess (read: forecast...) would be some occaisional degredation of accuracy and some dropped cell calls. In other words, don't sell your GPSr yet. Unless its to me...

 

Solar Weather page

Edited by NotNutts
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THE SKY IS FALLING!...THE SKY IS FALLING!

Never fear, good citizen - I'll save you, with ... SCIENCE!!! (*)

 

Yes, Captain Reynolds here, with a handy tip for stopping the cosmic rays from those evil solar flares from infiltrating your GPSr and causing you to log DNFs on 1/1 caches. Just take some handy-dandy aluminum foil (kids, ask your mom first), tear off a sheet, and fashion it into a hat. Place this over the top of your GPSr, and all those evil electromagnetic radiation ray thing-a-ma-jigs will be deflected away. Hah, let's see those pesky solar flares get through that shield!

 

GPS_TinFoilHat.jpg

 

 

(*) The Reynolds Corporation is painfully aware that Captain Reynolds flunked all his science courses, but we signed this stupid contract making him our official spokesperson and now we're kinda stuck with him. Our apologies.

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THE SKY IS FALLING!...THE SKY IS FALLING!

 

Will the birds be falling? (Not the ones with feathers, the ones in orbit with solar panels.) Really my point is, I've heard that satellites can be damaged electronically by this sort of event, since they do not receive enough protection from earth's magnetic field up there. So in addition to the signal degrades, and lost calls, might a couple of satellites need replacing after having their circuits fried?

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THE SKY IS FALLING!...THE SKY IS FALLING!

 

Will the birds be falling? (Not the ones with feathers, the ones in orbit with solar panels.) Really my point is, I've heard that satellites can be damaged electronically by this sort of event, since they do not receive enough protection from earth's magnetic field up there. So in addition to the signal degrades, and lost calls, might a couple of satellites need replacing after having their circuits fried?

 

Short answer: not likely

A longer answer can be found here.

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