Experts: Solar Eclipse Could Interfere With Your GPS

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Many of us rely on the technology every day, but on Monday, you may want to pack a little extra patience when you hop in the car, as the eclipse could interfere with your GPS signal.

Scientists say the total eclipse could create error messages for computers.

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“I don’t want people to panic, no one is going to drive off a bridge because the GPS tells them to take a turn that isn’t there,” said Dr. Greg Earle at Virginia Tech.

Earle says the eclipse will affect the electrified portion of our atmosphere.

Translation: When your phone asks the satellite orbiting the earth for directions — there may be some interference.

“They’ll be a little error associated with GPS signals at that time,” said Earle.

It will likely mean slightly less responsive guidance, if you notice anything at all. And it’s far less of a problem for you than it is for say, NASA.

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“It messes with GPS, with communications systems, even power grids,” said Dr. Alex Young, Astrophysicist at NASA.

Even ham radios will be affected because those operators rely on that electrified part of the atmosphere, especially to communicate over great distances.

Researchers will actually be studying that communication in real-time on Monday.

“There are 700,000 plus hams across the country and we’re using them and working with them to help get additional data with the eclipse,” said Earle.

PennDOT says the state is expected to put out some guidance about “dos and don’ts” for during the eclipse because of concerns about GPS errors and just plain distracted driving.

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