Scroll down to read this post.


Please consider supporting my work here at Behind the Black. I keep the website clean from pop-ups and annoying demands. Instead, I depend entirely on my readers to support me. Though this means I am sacrificing some income, it also means that I remain entirely independent from outside pressure. By depending solely on donations and subscriptions from my readers, no one can threaten me with censorship. You don't like what I write, you can simply go elsewhere.


You can support me either by giving a one-time contribution or a regular subscription. There are five ways of doing so:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


2. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.

3. A Paypal Donation:

4. A Paypal subscription:

5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652


You can also support me by buying one of my books, as noted in the boxes interspersed throughout the webpage or shown in the menu above. And if you buy the books through the ebookit links, I get a larger cut and I get it sooner.

A fired up Sun

As it does every month, NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center today released its monthly update showing the ongoing changes of the Sun’s solar cycle sunspot activity. I have posted the graph below the fold.

For the fourth month in a row the Sun’s sunspot activity has leaped upward. In fact, for the first time since I have been tracking sunspot activity, beginning in 2008, the Sun’s sunspot activity exceeds the predicted activity by a significant amount. Since the end of the previous maximum, the Sun had consistently failed to meet the expectations of solar scientists by producing far fewer sunspots than expected.

In the past few months, however, the Sun has recovered, its activity firing upward, including some of the most active and largest sunspots in years.

It is therefore not surprising that the solar scientists at the Marshall Space Flight Center have once again adjusted upward their prediction for the next solar maximum, now calling for a peak sunspot number of 89 occurring in May 2013. This is the second time they have raised this prediction in the past two months, first raising it from 70 to 77 in October. Even at this larger number, the upcoming maximum is still expected to be the weakest in 80 years.

What the Sun will do after this maximum remains a mystery. Solar scientists even have reason to believe that the Sun might very well stop producing visible sunspots for decades. That the Sun is suddenly showing life today throws a kink into this theory.

October sunspot graph

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News

One comment

  • Kelly Starks

    It still looks like they rae expecting the peak to only be 3/4ths the ’00 peak. Also whats with the huge flares, then quiet, then huge flares?

    Given solar activity like this influence Earths (adn everything else in the solar system) “climate”, we could be moving into some very bumpy weather.

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *