After being in print for twenty years, the Chronological Encyclopedia of Discoveries in Space, covering everything that was learned on every single space mission in the 20th century, has finally gone out of print.
I presently have my last four hardback copies available for sale. The book sold new for about $90. To get your own autographed copy of this now rare collector's item, please send a $120 check (which includes shipping) payable to Robert Zimmerman to
Behind The Black, c/o Robert Zimmerman
Cortaro, AZ 85652
"Useful to space buffs and generalists, comprehensive but readable, Bob Zimmerman's Encyclopedia belongs front and center on everyone's bookshelf." -- Mike Collins, Apollo 11 astronaut
"The Chronological Encylopedia of Discoveries in Space is no passionless compendium of information. Robert Zimmerman's fact-filled reports, which cover virtually every spacecraft or probe to have ventured into the heavens, relate the scientific and technical adventure of space exploration enthusiastically and with authority." -- American Scientist
On Monday NOAA posted its monthly update of the solar cycle, showing the sunspot activity for the Sun in January. As I do every month, I am posting it here below the fold, with annotations to give it context.
While awaiting final confirmation, all evidence points to the most recent solar maximum having peaked at 82 in April, 2014. This was within the expected range for the peak, but occurred significantly later than predicted.
Since their graph doesn’t show the entire curves for their predictions, the above statement seems reasonable. However, looking at the graph with those curves inserted (see my annotated graph below the fold), it becomes clear that not only did the peak occur much later than predicted, the maximum’s overall activity was also generally less than predicted.
The graph above has been modified to show the predictions of the solar science community. The green curves show the community’s two original predictions from April 2007, with half the scientists predicting a very strong maximum and half predicting a weak one. The red curve is their revised May 2009 prediction.
The new website for NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center continues to evolve. They have now moved these updates to this page, where they have also created a tab/link, not yet filled with data, where they intend to repost the 2007 and 2009 predictions of the solar maximum as made by the solar science community. Right now, all it includes is this statement: “A link to the original Solar Cycle Prediction Panel forecasts will be provided here.”
For the present it appears that NOAA will continue to update the monthly graphs as they have been doing for the past half decade. I expect however for this to end sometime in the next two years, when they will revamp everything in conjunction with the science community’s new prediction of the next solar maximum. At that time I will either take their revamped graphs and accept them as is, or merge them with this older graph, so as to give my readers the best long term context.