University of Bath
We have all heard of the Global Positioning System, or GPS, which is now widely used and has become fundamental to the modern world.
The next Bath Science Café will explore how this system on which we now rely is being affected by space weather conditions.
Navigation, the national grid, internet banking, mobile phones, TV and aircraft landing systems are just a handful of applications that now rely on GPS.
The sun is constantly bombarding the Earth with powerful radiation and every eleven years or so these energetic outbursts increase dramatically. This gives rise to space weather in the Earth’s upper atmosphere, which most of us know as the Northern Lights.
Space weather badly affects GPS signals and can leave users with a problematic positioning or timing solution, or without any solution at all! Space weather can also damage power grids.
Recently, Julian has been working towards monitoring space weather in real-time. 4D space weather maps have been developed and used to monitor and image space weather conditions. As a result, improvements to the accuracy and reliability of GPS positioning and timing have been made.
Julian is also involved in TOPCAT – a project based at the University in which a mini satellite is being built. The satellite will be launched into space later this year!