Apr 18, 2021

Smartphones can detect huge solar storms

Posted by in categories: mobile phones, space

Massive solar storms in space can be picked up by iOS and Android smartphones, meaning billions of people have a personal geomagnetic storm detector — but the signals threaten to interfere with future location-based applications.

Hoping to get the public more involved in science, study author Sten F. Odenwald, an astronomer at the NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center, published a paper on the topic April 2 in Space Weather. It indicates that even through the unavoidable interference caused by other smartphone components, the phone’s built-in magnetometers can detect geomagnetic storms.

“Smartphones — at least theoretically — should be able to detect some of the strongest storms, pretty easily in fact,” Odenwald told The Academic Times. “Especially if you happen to live up in the northern latitudes — in Minnesota or in Canada, or places like that where it really rocks and rolls.”

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