to broad of an article. I realize solar flares are a huge problem coming into the 11 year high cycle again, and so does NASA because of the satellite they are trying to launch today that will give a warning for flares for other space craft. You can watch a live launch of his space craft today
Atlas V Launch window closed with a computer red-line at T Minus 3:59, after a long hold at 4:00 minutes, recycling back to T Minus 4:00 and holding for a 24 hour recycle of launch protocol.
Reason for Scrub:
high wind turbulence on launch vehicle.
Next attempt to launch:
10:23 EST 2-11-10 Launch window opens 11:24 it will close.
Message-- the launch just got scrubbed-- windy-- next may be Thursday. Direct from Florida!
Looks like someone (in the tech press) was bored...
yes, sunspots and flares can raise all sorts of issues with sat-based services. Folks with sat TV know all about this as orbital mechanics give them a less-than-optimal configuration a couple times a year.
For GPS, WAAS helps even out some of the lumps. The next-gen birds and devices add another frequency to better reduce ionospheric uncertanties.
And we as tech-savvy users know better than to trust anything with a microprocessor in it, right? It may be telling me to turn right, but I'm going to look and think about it first...
...In the bad-old-days when "Selective Availability" was active, I had a GPS antenna on top of the garage, used to synch clocks and also for local differential work. Between SA, flares, and such, some times that garage was moving at a speed of many meters per second!
Looking for a novel on this subject, check out Larry Burkett's book "Solar Flare"
I'm a ham radio operator (like k6rtm ) and I've been watching solar cycles closely for 35 years now... Hams care about the solar cycles because we get the best long distance communications during the peak years.
The article seems fairly well balanced... The following comment pretty well sums it up.
more likely to be "troublesome than dangerous," but inaccuracies of around 10 meters and signal blackouts that could last for hours are being forecast
I think the thing to realize is that the GPS craze occurred during the low an 11 year solar minimum.. Not just -A- solar minimum, but one of the lowest minimums in over 100 years.
If the solar activity increases the way it should, we will start to see stormy solar days where GPS units have trouble getting fixes and stop showing the accuracy that current users are used to. I think that's what we should be aware of.
Out of interest, the link below shows the different types of solar storms, how they are rated, how often they occur on average and what to expect during the different levels:
For the really technical types, the link below shows the current scintillation index (that's the ability of the ionosphere to interfere with satellite GPS signals). It's good when there is no red on the maps.
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