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Old 02-17-2011
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Even with Solar Flares, Cornell GPS Expert Says Humanity Need Not Resort to Compass and Map
Released: 2/17/2011 2:30 PM EST
Source: Cornell University

Newswise — Brady O'Hanlon is a Cornell University doctoral student in electrical and computer engineering. He conducts research on GPS software receivers and the study of space weather.

O’Hanlon comments on the increase in solar flare activity over the last two days, which may affect GPS and other electronics on Earth and in space.

He says:

“The average person need not yet resort to compass and map.

“Civilian GPS receivers – like the one in your phone or car – will likely not see any notable effects from this particular event, but applications requiring high precision like aircraft may have reduced availability. These effects depend largely on the structure of the solar wind when it reaches Earth, and we only have about an hour of warning if severe space weather is on the way.

“These recent solar events are notable because they herald the increased activity we can expect over the next several years as the sun approaches the peak of its 11-year activity cycle. GPS usage has become ubiquitous over the past several years, a period which happened to coincide with extremely low solar activity. Expect to see periodic disruptions in GPS service over the next several years.”
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