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Solar flares could harm GPS, satellites, warns Japan

Japan: A Japanese government institute has warned that satellite transmissions, GPS readings, and power lines could be affected over the next two weeks if a recent spate of solar flares continues.

Four large solar flares have been detected over the last few days, including one on Tuesday that was the largest of the year. The flares were judged to be “X-class” by NASA and other agencies, the highest in a linear scale based on X-ray measurements.

Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), said the flares came from a group of sunspots that are pointed away from the Earth, but are due to rotate to face in the Earth’s direction over the next week. NICT said that if more major flares occur during that time, there could be problems for satellites and other equipment.

“There is a danger that man-made satellites such as communications and broadcast satellites could be impaired, errors in high-precision GPS measurements could increase, short wave transmissions could impaired, and power lines could be affected by sudden geomagnetic changes,” the institute said in a press release in Japanese.

Source: PC World