A press release this week says that a solar outburst, which can play havoc with global positioning systems and cell phone reception, bombarded Earth, Dec. 6, 2006, with a record amount of radio noise. Dale Gary, who just confirmed the news, is a professor and chair of the department of physics at New Jersey Institute of Technology.
"Reports of significant events worldwide are still coming in as late as yesterday afternoon," said Gary. Due to a computer software failure, initial research reports in the U.S. downplayed the outbursts.
"The odd thing about this outburst was that the Sun is supposed to be at the minimum phase of its 11-year cycle," said Gary. "Nevertheless, the disruption lasted more than an hour, produced a record amount of radio noise, and caused massive disruptions of Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) receivers world wide."