The Effects of Solar Flares on Technology

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Emissions from the sun could cause various technologies to malfunction on the Earth.
Emissions from the sun could cause various technologies to malfunction on the Earth. (Image: The sun image by Denis Kadacki from Fotolia.com)

Scientists have expressed concern about the impact on the Earth as two of the sun's activities converge in 2013. That year, NASA expects a peak in the sun's magnetic energy cycle to coincide with a peak in its 11-year cycle of solar flares. The sun’s increased activity levels, which will push its temperature to more than 10,000 F, could affect Earth and the technology we use, as the Earth is hit with a huge amount of magnetic energy from the solar flares.

Satellite Navigation Technology

Satellite navigation technology uses satellites from space to send radio signals to the Earth. A receiving device on Earth uses those signals to figure out how far away the device is from the satellite. These satellite signals, considering that they come from such a long distance away, are weak. Not only that, they react to activity on the sun. Solar flares could make it difficult for the receivers on Earth to pick up these already weak signals. Your car’s global positioning system uses such satellite navigation technology, as do emergency vehicles. Docking ships also use them. If your car’s GPS cannot pick up a satellite signal, it will not be able to provide directions to you.

Power Outages

There could be power outages as power grids heat up beyond desired levels. Modern society depends on power to fuel various appliances. A loss of power means that those devices that don’t have any backup power sources will not function.

Handheld Electronic Devices

Solar flares also have an effect on electronic devices, which tend to be impacted by magnetic energy from the flares. When hit with the magnetic energy, these sensitive devices are likely to malfunction. You could face a few days without access to your mobile phone, computer or other electronic devices.

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