A massive flare on the face of the sun may cause disruptions to GPS service on Earth, according to researchers at Cornell University. An article on CNN says researchers have predicted that 2011 will be particularly bad for solar activity and potential GPS problems. Other scientists are predicting that this activity may even impact Earth’s electrical grid and its control systems, potentially causing massive power outages. A staff member at NOAA predicts that the worst solar activity is still yet to come, so keep your DR plot up to date and your sextant handy.
The article states that, “This week’s flare (called a “coronal mass ejection”) registered M9.3 on the “Richter scale of flares,” about the highest level in the “medium” category. Larger flares that fall into the “X” category can cause global radio blackouts, but large M-class flares also can cause radio disruptions.”