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.
Subjects: Physics, Environmental Science
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