The 23rd Cycle by Sten Odenwald

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Synopsis

On March 13, 1989, the entire Quebec power grid collapsed, automatic garage doors in California suburbs began to open and close without apparent reason, and microchip production came to a halt in the Northeast; in space, communications satellites had to be manually repointed after flipping upside down, and pressure readings on hydrogen tank supplies on board the Space Shuttle Discovery peaked, causing NASA to consider aborting the mission. What was the cause of all these seemingly disparate events? Sten Odenwald gives convincing evidence of the mischievous—and potentially catastrophic—power of solar storms and the far-reaching effects of the coming "big one" brewing in the sun and estimated to culminate in the twenty-third cycle in the year 2001 and beyond. When the sun undergoes its cyclic "solar maximum," a time when fierce solar flares and storms erupt, fantastic auroras will be seen around the world. But the breathtaking spectacles will herald a potentially disastrous chain of events that merit greater preparation than Y2K. Is anyone listening?

The 23rd Cycle traces the previously untold history of solar storms and the ways in which they were perceived by astronomers—and even occasionally covered up by satellite companies. Punctuated with an insert containing dramatic color images showing the erupting sun, the book also includes a history of the record of auroral sightings, accounts of communications blackouts from the twentieth century, a list of industries sensitive to solar storms, and information about radiation and health issues.
 

About Sten Odenwald

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Sten Odenwald an award-winning astronomer with Raytheon ITSS, is currently the education and public outreach manager for the NASA IMAGE satellite program. The author of The Astronomy Cafe and The 23rd Cycle, Sten Odenwald writes a regular on-line question-and-answer column called “Ask the Space Scientist” for the Washington Post, and is a frequent contributor Sky and Telescope and Astronomy magazines. He is the recipient of the 1999 Goddard Space Flight Center Excellence in Outreach Award and the Popular Writing Award from the American Astronomical Society, Solar Physics Division. He lives in Kensington, MD.
 
Published July 24, 2012 by Columbia University Press. 224 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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During the year 2000, the number of sunspots reached the peak of their 11-year cycle, the 23rd such cycle since scientists first discovered the dark solar blotches.

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