Why Your Cell Phone Call Just Dropped

Dennis Faas's picture

July heat can do some serious damage to production. With temperatures soaring across North America and Europe, employers are often forced to limit the physical activity of their outside employees.

With that said, here's one sun casualty you might not expect: your cell phone.

In a recent report compiled by Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, researchers found that many dropped calls are not the result of elevators or even subway tunnels, but instead flares emitted from Mr Sun himself. (Source: allheadlinenews.com)

How is that possible?

Granted, the sun is a long way away from both us and our telecommunications networks. However, the energy bursts emitted by the sun are sometimes at the same frequency as certain radio waves, and if a cell phone provider's tower is facing that peach pie in the sky, it can lead to frustrating dropped calls.

Just how much of a problem is the sun?

It's tough to pinpoint an exact figure, but Queen's researchers estimate that between 9-20% of all dropped calls can be linked to problems caused by the sun's interference.

Still don't believe it? According to Dr. David Thomson, "Understanding our Sun's more than 10 million normal modes and their interactions with engineering systems on Earth is a challenge that we are just beginning to undertake...What we have discovered is surprising and very different from the explanations that appear in most engineering textbooks." (Source: ctv.ca)

Thomson and others at Queen's have been studying interference of this kind since the sun began causing problems for satellite services in the 1990s. Today, researchers use the university's $600,000 rooftop solar radio telescope to help determine just how many problems the sun can provide.

And, I thought skin cancer was bad!

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