Having Trouble With Your GPS?

by Steve Dasseos, The Trip Insurance Guru on August 9, 2011

I took some time off from July 29th to August 8th. My family and I went to the Iron Range of Northern Minnesota and also to Two Harbors, MN on the North Shore of Lake Superior. It was great to take a vacation.

Sidenote to vent my spleen: on August 1st one my companies suddenly changed their prices & gave me 2 hours notice to take them our quote system until they can test the new prices. I was (and still am) very disappointed as I was promised an Aug. 30th deadline.

Anyway, back to my question “Having Trouble With Your GPS?”

I asked that because you may not know that on August 5th, 2011 our Sun had a large solar flare. Here’s how SpaceWeather.com said it: “A widespread display of auroras erupted late Friday, Aug. 5th, when a double-CME hit Earth’s magnetic field and sparked a G4-category geomagnetic storm.”

As I’m a curious person, I wanted to know what a G4-category geomagnetic storm is. On Friday I found out that NOAA also runs the NOAA / NWS Space Weather Prediction Center. You can find the NOAA Space Weather Scales here.

On the good side of this we saw a fine display of the Northern Lights on Friday after midnight. The entire northern sky to about 30 degrees off the horizon was glowing plus there were pulses all the way past the zenith to the south. Take a look at this video from NW Territories, Canada.

However, when were driving back to Kansas City we experience the GPS problems that the solar flare caused. Once in N. Iowa, my cell phone’s GPS said I was in E. Iowa. And about 2 hours later while still in Iowa it said I was at an unknown location on the Arkansas / Mississippi border.

Thankfully I wasn’t flying a small plane with zero visibility!

There will be a more Northern Lights and GPS problems because we are nearing the 11 year Solar Activity peak in 2013.

I hope this makes sense. If you want the right travel insurance advice, call us at 1-888-407-3854 and we'll help you figure it all out.

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