Space Weather Might be to Blame for Frustrating GPS Screw-Ups
Researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington recently explained why wonky GPS directions are sometimes caused by solar wind, the same thing responsible for the Northern Lights.
Making a wrong turn thanks to inept GPS directions is one of the most infuriating experiences while driving, but scientists at the University of Texas at Arlington reassure us that these screw-ups may be out of our Earthly control.
KERA news spoke to the researchers who pin the occasional wonky GPS direction on solar wind, or fast-moving particles blasted off into space by solar storms outside the Sun’s atmosphere.
This space weather isn’t harmful to humans, but they do oddly interact with GPS signals.
“It’s just like if you look at a pencil and stick it into a glass of water,” researcher Ramon Lopez told reporters. “The pencil looks bent so the pencil isn’t really exactly where you see it. So, that happens with GPS signals.”
Fortunately, there is a silver lining to solar wind. The Northern Lights or Aurora are caused due to space weather interacting with the Earth’s magnetic field, creating some beautiful imagery.
Fernando Ramirez, chron
Editor’s Comment: So if you get way off course you may end up North enough to admire just the thing that caused you to get lost in the first place, the Northern lights (aka Aurora Borealis)