The 23rd Cycle: Learning to Live with a Stormy Star

By Sten F. Odenwald | Go to book overview

3
“Hello? Is Anyone There?”

Up, up, up past the Russel Motel Up, up, up to the Heavyside Layer

—T. S. Elliot, ca. 1937

It was a fantastic aurora–the best that anyone could recall in decades. When the September 18, 1941, Great Aurora took the stage, it was seen in Virginia, Denver, and St. Louis, but in New York City its displays played to a very mixed audience. From Central Park, at 9:30 P.M., pedestrians could plainly see several bright colored bands of light rivaling the full moon and spanning the sky in shades of orange, blue, and green. Curtains, rays, and flashing displays of light covered much of the sky throughout the rest of the night, giving New Yorkers a taste of what their northern relatives in Alaska see on a weekly schedule. The display had started before sunrise on Thursday, September 18, as thousands of commuters got up and had breakfast before dealing with another New York rush hour. This was a special day for other reasons as well. The Brooklyn Dodgers would be playing the Pittsburg Pirates, and Red Barber would be announcing the play-by-play activity over WOR radio. By 4:00 P.M., the baseball teams were tied 0–0 in a game that kept everyone at the edge of their seats, when suddenly, and for an interminable fifteen minutes, the broadcast was cut off by auroral interference. When the broadcast resumed, the Pirates had scored four runs, and Dodger fans pounded the radio station switchboards by the thousands, hurling oaths and bad language. The radio station tried to explain that they

-25-

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The 23rd Cycle: Learning to Live with a Stormy Star
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Prologue xi
  • Part I - The Past 1
  • 1 - A Conflagration of Storms 3
  • 2 - Dancing in the Light 14
  • 3 - Hello? Is Anyone There? 25
  • Part II - The Present 35
  • 4 - Between a Rock and a Hard Place 37
  • 5 - We'Re Not in Kansas Anymore! 50
  • 6 - They Call Them “satellite Anomalies” 63
  • 7 - Business as Usual 75
  • 8 - Human Factors 92
  • 9 - Cycle 23 113
  • Part III - The Future 133
  • 10 - Through a Crystal Ball 135
  • Epilogue 161
  • Notes 171
  • Bibliography 183
  • Figure and Plate Credits 203
  • Index 205
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