Solar flares blamed for dropped cellphone calls

Solar flares, fiery geysers that erupt on the sun's surface, have been known to interrupt radio and television signals from satellites, but now a team of researchers, led by Queen's University professor David Thomson in Kingston, Ontario, says the storms can also affect cellphones routed through towers with antennas facing the sun. Dr. Thomson said his study found the rate of dropped calls could be as high as 9% in the summer and between 0.5 to 0.6% at the same location in the winter. "We know [the link to dropped calls] is solar-related, but we don't know how exactly it happens," said Thomson. Solar flares eject about a billion tonnes of the sun's atmosphere into space, travelling at a speed of 1.6 million kilometres an hour. The findings will be published in the next edition of the journal Proceedings of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

News source: CBC News

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