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Huge solar flares from peak year of Solar Cycle 25 disrupt GPS while threatening Starlink satellites, flights, and power grids

Peak solar flare period threatens GPS, satellites, flights, electrical grids, and electronic devices worldwide. (Source: NASA/SDO)
Peak solar flare period threatens GPS, satellites, flights, electrical grids, and electronic devices worldwide. (Source: NASA/SDO)
Huge solar flares from the peak year of Solar Cycle 25 have disrupted GPS services while threatening Starlink satellites, flights, power grids, and more. Solar flares are enormous bursts of energy from the sun crash into the magnetosphere protecting the earth. Most of the energy is diverted, some become beautiful auroras, and the remaining carry the potential to knock out critical infrastructure.

Huge solar flares from Solar Cycle 25 have threatened critical infrastructure on earth including satellites, flights, power grids, and more. NOAA has issued a critical warning on continuing solar flare activity this weekend. The sun is a big burning ball of hydrogen and very energetic bursts of this solar material are called solar flares or eruptions. Every 11 years, the magnetic poles of the sun flip with a corresponding peak in solar flare activity, and 2024 is the predicted peak of the current cycle.

Solar cycles and peaks in solar flares did not greatly affect humans before electricity and electronics became widely used, but can today. Intense bursts of solar energy crashing into the earth’s magnetosphere can not only generate beautiful auroras, but also enormous electromagnetic disturbances. On the intensity chart, X designates solar flares of the largest kind.

Some the strongest solar flare peaks ever recorded hit the earth from October to November, 2003. Airlines experienced communications dropouts and blackouts, satellites were damaged or lost including the Japanese ADEOS-2, GPS and WAAS navigation systems were rendered unreliable, a nuclear power plant transformer overheated, and electrical grids experienced problems and blackouts.

A huge X5.8 solar flare erupted on May 10, 2024 among a flurry of activity this week, with more predicted for this weekend. Elon Musk tweeted “Starlink satellites are under a lot of pressure, but holding up so far.” Starlink satellites are better protected by the magnetosphere because they orbit lower than most other satellites, but warfighters depending on them and GPS should plan on alternative methods for communications and navigation because some GPS systems have already reported “incorrect positions”

Readers depending on medical equipment should prepare for communications and electrical grid blackouts by stocking up on gas generators, glow sticks, and emergency food. While backup medical equipment is costly, having one on hand, even wrapped with a Faraday cover or inside a safety shelter for added protection, can be wise preparation for the next natural disaster due to a flood, earthquake, or tornado.

NOAA issues critical solar flare warning for the weekend of May 11, 2024. (Source: NOAA)
NOAA issues critical solar flare warning for the weekend of May 11, 2024. (Source: NOAA)
The X5.8 solar flare on May 10, 2024 is one of the largest and disrupted GPS signals. (Source: NASA/SDO)
The X5.8 solar flare on May 10, 2024 is one of the largest and disrupted GPS signals. (Source: NASA/SDO)
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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2024 05 > Huge solar flares from peak year of Solar Cycle 25 disrupt GPS while threatening Starlink satellites, flights, and power grids
David Chien, 2024-05-12 (Update: 2024-05-12)