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I am now running my annual July fund-raising campaign to celebrate the twelfth anniversary of the establishment of Behind the Black. For many reasons, mostly political but partly ethical, I do not use Google, Facebook, Twitter. These companies practice corrupt business policies, while targeting conservative websites for censoring, facts repeatedly confirmed by news stories and by my sense that Facebook has taken action to prevent my readers from recommending Behind the Black to their friends.


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Sunspot update: The Sun rages on

Time for my monthly sunspot cycle update, where I take NOAA’s monthly graph showing the long term trends in the Sun’s sunspot activity, and annotate it with additional data to provide some context.

The trend of sunspot activity exceeding the predictions continued in February. While the increase in activity from January still left it less than the activity in December, the total number of sunspots is still far above the number predicted by NOAA’s panel of solar scientists in 2020, with the rise towards a solar maximum also much steeper and far faster than predicted.

February 2022 sunspot activity

The graph above has been modified to show the predictions of the solar science community for the previous solar maximum. The green curves show the community’s two original predictions from April 2007 for the previous maximum, with half the scientists predicting a very strong maximum and half predicting a weak one. The blue curve is their revised May 2009 prediction. The red curve is the new prediction, first posted by NOAA in April 2020.

In fact, the rise in sunspots from month-to-month since the end of the solar minimum in 2020 has been so steep and fast that it is already halfway to the peaks seen in the last maximum in 2014. While it took about two and a half years to get to this level of activity in 2012, it has taken less than two years to do the same now.

More interesting is the steadiness of the present rise in sunspot activity. During the last ramp up to solar maximum, the month-to-month numbers of sunspots varied quite wildly, varying from 50 to almost 150. The present ramp up however has risen quite smoothly, with only a little up-and-down fluctuation in the sunspot numbers from month to month, ranging generally less than 20.

The continuing high numbers and steady and steep rise once again suggest that the prediction of the 2020 NOAA panel will be far too low, while the outlier prediction of a handful of solar scientists that this maximum will be a very strong one will be right. If so, this story will once again demonstrate that science reality is never determined by consensus, but by the actual facts, which sometimes prove the consensus completely wrong.

None of this is proven yet, however. We must exercise patience and see what the Sun brings us in the next three years. The odds of it surprising us again is quite high, as that has been the pattern of all nature since the first human first tried to figure out how to light that first campfire.

Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • William

    I don’t think rate of rise is correlated with peak. I think the two hemispheres have of the sun are going to result in two peaks temporally more divergent and lower, similar to cycle 24

  • Max

    William, you could be right.
    Just when they believe they’ve nailed the 11 year sunspot cycle… what was consistent is now inconsistent and varies widely.
    Looking at the past history in the above graph, the quicker steeper activity of the sun usually results in a higher peak. A slower increase of activity results in a double or lower peak. It’s too soon, in this solar cycle, for an unusually high solar maximum… But that’s the trend so far.

    With all gambling, especially in finance… Past results is no guarantee of the future returns.
    We will see…

    Hopefully more information from the Parker probe will be available soon. I’m hoping for new discoveries that never have been thought of before. (what are tadpoles for example)

    I will not hold my breath though, I remember exciting discoveries when Soho was first launched. The discovery that micro flares (now called nano flares) theorized by Parker were verified and was the cause of coronal heating.

    This explained while why all of our light, heat, solar wind comes from the 2 million to 18,000,000° F corona, thousands of miles away from the cold 9500° F photosphere (surface of the sun) (actually colder than our four gas giants)

    It is nothing new that politicians bury the real physical science so that political science can determine the direction of the flow of billion dollar grants to fund fusion research, (weapons) climate change, (no evidence) heating of CO2 and methane,( violation of the second law of thermodynamics) etc. when they know the sun is electrical in nature. (if the sun was a nuclear furnace, it would be emitting a “factor of three” more nuclear radiation resulting in the sterilization of the solar system)
    Enough said.

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