Intense solar activity in 2012 will trip mobile phones, GPS

December 12th, 2010 - 5:13 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 12 (IANS) Experts predict the Northern Lights will be at their brightest in 50 years in 2012 and could cause disruption of mobile phones, Global Positioning Systems and even national grids.

The 2012 aurora will be caused by the Solar Maximum - a period when the sun’s magnetic field on the solar equator rotates at a slightly faster pace than at the solar poles, reports the Daily Mail.

Fast-moving charged particles from the sun, known as solar wind, interact with Earth’s atmosphere and are closely linked to the 11-year solar sunspot cycle.

The lights form high above Earth, usually above 40 miles and sometimes as much as 600 miles higher than the space shuttle travels.

The last Solar Maximum was in 2000 and NASA scientists have predicted that the next one in 2012 will be the greatest since 1958, where the aurora stunned the people of Mexico by making an appearance on three occasions.

Scientists have stated that the Northern Lights should at least be visible as far south as Rome in 2012.

Icelandic photographer Orvar Thorgiersson from Reyjavik is in the middle of a project to document the growing intensity of the phenomena.

“In 2012 will be the best, brightest and most dramatic opportunity to view the aurora in a long time. The aurora is a magnificent display of light,” Thorgiersson said.

“It’s so intense and when you face it, you feel an indescribable connection with nature’s greatest event,” Thorgiersson added.

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