Solar Storms Threaten Gadgets This Weekend

Mass events could disrupt power and communication

Sep 12, 2014
Outside Magazine
solar flare nasa outside

Having a solar blast. (NASA's words, not ours.)    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr

A pair of solar events has the potential to disrupt power and GPS this Friday and Saturday, according to the U.S. Space Weather Center

Two coronal mass ejections—enormous discharges of plasma—will create magnetic storms when they interact with the earth’s magnetic field. These storms have the potential to disrupt power and communications infrastructure. Space Weather Center director Thomas Berger told Bloomberg that these storms are not expected to cause widespread outages, but the potential for disruptions to power grids and GPS remains.

On the other hand, increased solar activity also brings the potential for a more active aurora on Friday and Saturday nights. If you’re at higher latitude—Boston, Chicago, or Seattle—consider escaping city light pollution and seeking out a clear view. But maybe don’t plan on relying on your GPS to get home.