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Communications Earth

Sun Storms May Affect Radios, Cell Phones Today 50

Posted by timothy
from the going-once-going-twice-sol dept.
ABC News is one of various news outlets reporting that "Intense solar activity may affect Earth today, potentially disrupting radio and cell phone frequencies." (The Space Weather Prediction Center calls the likely effects minor, but it might be a good day to have an atlas packed in with the GPS.)
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Sun Storms May Affect Radios, Cell Phones Today

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  • by Toe, The (545098) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:14AM (#38525990)

    When working in IT, whenever I would encounter a weird networking problem that I couldn't immediately identify, I'd suggest maybe it had something to do with sunspot activity. This usually got the affected people scratching their heads long enough that I could concentrate on actually working on the problem instead of listening to them asking me what the problem was.

    • I have a feeling I would get called out on that instantly and it would create even more questions, but then again most of the non-IT people I work with are engineers are and highly technical.

      • by poetmatt (793785)

        Just because they're engineers and good at their specialty doesn't mean they're good with IT. Some are much better than the average user, but it's definitely more of an outlier and not the norm.

        It all goes back to the "tell them what they need to know and more only if they can comprehend it" part of IT anyway.

        • by Patch86 (1465427)

          Sunspots affect more than just IT. If you said "sunspots are playing havoc with our network" to an electrical engineer, you'd probably give him a nervous breakdown.

          • by na1led (1030470)
            The correct response would be "Electromagnetic Interference" which could be the results of Sunspot Activity.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      That's funny, until you actually encounter sub-standard shielding in memory at high altitudes...
      Then it actually IS sunspots that cause the system to fail...
    • by Dishevel (1105119) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:56AM (#38526540)

      I work in IT for a large cab company in California.
      When I get to work in the morning. I log in, check server status, check status of 4 different radio sites, then I go to spaceweather.com to check sunspot activity.
      With 300 Cabs running around with mobile radios and GPS there is just a lot that can go bad. Better to know.

      • Have you ever had a geo-storm actually cause issues up in VHF (or are they UHF radios?)

    • by na1led (1030470)
      I blame things on Static, Sunspot Activity, and Random Anomolies!
    • by fragfoo (2018548)

      This explains why my WIFI signal was so shitty this morning.

    • by oneiros27 (46144)

      C'mon ... at least cite the original material. From BOFH #6 [ntk.net]:

      It's friday, so I get into work early, before lunch even. The phone rings. Shit!

      I turn the page on the excuse sheet. "SOLAR FLARES" stares out at me. I'd better read up on that. Two minutes later I'm ready to answer the phone.

      "Hello?" I say.

      "WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN, I'VE BEEN TRYING TO GET YOU ALL MORNING?!"

      I hate it when they shout at me early in the morning. It always puts me in a bad mood. You know what I mean.

      "Ah, yes. Well, there's been some sola

      • by RockDoctor (15477)

        as I work at the Solar Data Analysis Center, and most of the folks I work with have phds in solar physics, astronomy or similar, the excuse just doesn't work. (and my boss reads BOFH)

        Could be worse.

        Actually, that's likely to be a pretty good sign. If your boss reads and enjoys the Good Bastard, then it's likely that s/he has a functioning sense of humour. which is a good start.

        Meanwhile ... I haven't read any Bastard for weeks, and I feel the need ...

    • by Rolgar (556636)

      Did you used to work for the US Postal Service? When the USPS went to DHCP about 7 years ago, our DHCP pool ran out of addresses within a year. One day, I couldn't get get RIS to connect in order to install Windows. After a while, we released an address from a PC and it worked perfectly, and the other machine couldn't get an address again. Our system administrator had to call and the first thing out of the guy's mouth was about sunspots or solar flares. It was about all our SA could do not to blow his top!!

  • Atlas (Score:5, Funny)

    by Artea (2527062) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:22AM (#38526132)
    I hope the commercial airlines hear about this and inform their pilots of bring an atlas!
    • by oneiros27 (46144)

      Maybe not all, but they do inform pilots who are flying across the poles -- the Earth's magnetic field deflects some space weather, but ends up concentrating the stuff at the poles (which is why the Northern/Southern Lights are strongest near the poles)

      The result is that many pilots won't fly those routes, instead taking other routes which often require an extra stop for refueling, or reducing the amount of luggage (to be brought later).

      So if you're planning on a trip that's to the other hemisphere, odds ar

      • by QQBoss (2527196)

        Maybe not all, but they do inform pilots who are flying across the poles -- the Earth's magnetic field deflects some space weather, but ends up concentrating the stuff at the poles (which is why the Northern/Southern Lights are strongest near the poles)

        The result is that many pilots won't fly those routes, instead taking other routes which often require an extra stop for refueling, or reducing the amount of luggage (to be brought later).

        So if you're planning on a trip that's to the other hemisphere, odds are, you're looking at delays and/or lost baggage.

        Commercial pilots have little leeway over the routes they fly, so your statement that pilots avoid flying polar routes doesn't seem based on valid information. A better reason why polar routes aren't flown is because FAA rules require that planes never be further than a certain distance (referred to as ETOPS XXX, where XXX is the number of minutes flight time) from an airport where they can land in an emergency. Until Santa Claus opens up North Pole Field for international arrivals and departures, there j

  • You lost? (Score:5, Funny)

    by countertrolling (1585477) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:24AM (#38526158) Journal

    You need a damn GPS to find your way home now?

    • by robot256 (1635039)
      Not just home. I installed a radio-transparent roof so I could get a solid lock all the way to the fridge.
  • by DigitalSorceress (156609) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:45AM (#38526396)

    My first thought is "I wonder if I should be on the lookout for a good Aurora Borealis tonight."

    Being that I'm in New England, the only times in my life I've seent the "Northern Lights" have been subsequent to a strong CME / Solar flare like this. /gets camera ready just in case

  • Um...NO!! (Score:4, Informative)

    by launchpad72 (1731134) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @10:56AM (#38526548)
    I was a weather forecaster in the USAF and just looked at the Solar Weather page and there are "NO" alerts and "NO" large solar activity. If you read the ABC page it is just a 20-40% chance was from a report Monday. Has FOX news bought this website?
  • by mahiskali (1410019) on Thursday December 29, 2011 @11:21AM (#38526918)
    Chance is now about 20% for 29 December [spaceweather.com]. This ABC article is a bit alarmist and unnecessarily scaring the masses.
  • No (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 29, 2011 @11:55AM (#38527486)

    Shouldn't that be an ORACLE storm...?

  • Thank you Captain Obvious!

    I realize this is /., but really how is this news?

    Solar storms can interfere with radio signals, who knew?
    Oh, anyone who ever paid attention in middle school science class.

    And this on a supposedly geek "newsite".

    Sheesh!

    • Are you trolling, or are you feeling pissy but are unsure of who to be angry at? The article was about current solar flares. The mention here is not to suggest that we don't know about solar flares, but to tell us that current solar flares are intense enough to be potentially disruptive.

      Your rant is rather like going to wunderground and getting pissed that they're telling you it's going to snow today because we all know what snow is.

  • It's just millions of people calling us and saying that, yes they will help The Doctor.

  • I know that not everyone knows this, but this is pretty old news to us Amateur Radio operators. We have know that solar activity effects radio propogation for what must seem like forever... Just saying.
  • Indeed the sun does have the main impact on the 'usability' of some bits of the radio spectrum, as do seasons, the time of day, locations, receiver interference, (man made or natural) but there's plenty of other factors too. My main worrys are (as far as the sun and our electrical systems are concerned are) Satellites, as more and more, formerly terrestrial communications are now becoming space based, these are likely going to be the first items to ' cook ' - yes i know they can 'harden' them, but the syste

"There is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know yet." -Ambrose Bierce

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