We've had the first big storm in a long time.. It's classed as a G3.
The reason we should care is that there is the possibility of GPS accuracy being greatly degraded during the solar event. If you've experienced an unusual loss of accuracy today, then this might be the reason.
Also, these storms can cause spectacular northern light displays when they hit at night. The lights are seen much farther south than normal. Fortunately these disturbances normally don't last longer than a few hours.
You can read about how geomagnetic storms affect us on the NOAA information web page:
I wouldn't be to concerned till a G4 starts up.
Nice to know in advance that it is possible for "satellite navigation degraded for hours".
That explains why Garmin Mobile XT couldn't find a satellite signal even after having it up and running for fifteen minutes. It's more sensitive to these anomalies than my nuvi, which had no problem finding a signal.
Over the last ten years, sunspot activity has been low. This is according to my ham radio friends, who are looking forward to greater ranges and capabilities as solar activity increases atmospheric ionization. (That bouncing radio waves off the upper atmospher thing.)
Has anyone read any literature on the acquisition of satellite signals, and specifically GPS satellite signals, as we re-enter a period of greater solar activity?
Researchers say the Sun is awakening after a period of low activity, which does not bode well for a world ever more dependent on satellite navigation.
The Sun's irregular activity can wreak havoc with the weak sat-nav signals we use.
The last time the Sun reached a peak in activity, satellite navigation was barely a consumer product.
But the Sun is on its way to another solar maximum, which could generate large and unpredictable sat-nav errors.
It is not just car sat-nav devices that make use of the satellite signals; accurate and dependable sat-nav signals have, since the last solar maximum, quietly become a necessity for modern infrastructure.
Military operations worldwide depend on them, although they use far more sophisticated equipment.
So one has to wonder if the designers of the satellite transponders can crank up the signal strength as needed...
Or if someday we'll be triangulating off of cellular tower "gps" signals...
Hmmmm …. Maybe the time is coming for me to put away my Garmins and fire up my Heathkit HW-16
Nope just grab your Loran unit out of your boat.
It is only usful as an anchor though.
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