Solar activity threatens the work of a satellite navigation system


18/02/2011

The researchers say that the sun begins to wake up after a period of low activity. This could threaten the global navigation system.

When the sun reached its peak activity in the last time, satellite navigation has never been so prevalent.

But after a few years, the sun will reach its next maximum activity, which may give rise to serious errors navigation system.

Military around the world use this system, although the equipment is much more complex as compared to other industries.

Satellite navigation is used in developed countries, the police, ambulance and fire. And also for surveying accuracy, input ships in dock, and may soon be activated for automatic landing of commercial aircraft.

Satellite navigation system at the moment there is only the United States (GPS) and Russia (GLONASS). But soon they may have competition in the form of a European project Galileo constellation and the Chinese Compass Project.

Satellite signals are extremely weak. And as scientists have discovered more recently - also sensitive to solar activity.

Radiation or waves that emanate from the sun can interfere with the navigation system to take this weak signal.

Receivers of satellite signals can not continue to function several times within a few tens of minutes per year maximum solar activity.

It is difficult to say what are the problems faced by end users.

"We can refer to the measurements from the last solar maximum," - said Professor Catherine Mitchell of the University of Bath.

"If we extrapolate these data, they can vary greatly in different countries. For the United Kingdom, the error in the positioning will be about 10 meters."

"Ten meters may not represent much of a problem for the car navigation system, but if you use this system in areas with special requirements for safety, such as navigation on the ships when approaching the shore or in the future by landing aircraft, you will need a far more accurate and reliable information. "

Bob Kokshott managing the government-funded company Digital Systems Knowledge Transfer Network, said that in the field of consumer applications, such as in cars, it will not pose any particular risk, although it may cause some inconvenience.

"Maybe in a few hours, or even days, will have to suspend the geodetic survey or enter a tanker into an oil well", - he said.

When the activity of the Sun in a few years will reach its maximum, navigation system may provide incorrect data. Or, for a short time, not at all damaged.


Dawn probe captures the mysterious gullies on the West Side
Launcher come down from outer space to Earth by parachute. Photo
NASA announces the unexpected behavior of the Sun
Scientists have discovered what they were very young galaxies in the universe
Scientists have discovered the warm water in the constellation of Taurus