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The Sun’s fizzle continues

On June 4 NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center posted its monthly update of the ongoing sunspot cycle of the Sun. Now that I am back from Nevada, I’ve had a chance to take a look at it, and have posted the new graph for April below the fold.

May sunspot graph

Though sunspot activity in May showed a slight increase, it nowhere matched the activity levels predicted by scientists (as indicated by the red line). Though the Sun’s activity has ramped up, and is even today sending two coronal mass ejections directly towards the Earth, the Sun is also continuing to struggle to produce sunspots.

Meanwhile, the solar scientists at the Marshall Space Flight Center have not revised their prediction for the peak of the upcoming solar maximum, despite the weak numbers in May. They presently predict a sunspot number of 60 at maximum, the peak arriving in the spring of 2013. (The Marshall prediction uses a different sunspot numbering system than the graph above, which is why the solar maximum peak prediction for each is different, 60 compared to about 90. However, the actual activity predicted by both is really the same.) This prediction would make this upcoming solar maximum “the smallest sunspot cycle in about 100 years,” as they say on their website.

If the trends shown by the graph above continue, however, it is likely that the peak at maximum will be far weaker than this prediction, making it the weakest in several centuries. Some solar scientists are even predicting that the Sun might follow this weak maximum with the first Grand Minimum in five hundred years, giving us a period of decades where there are no sunspots at all. And the last time that happened, in the 1600s, the Earth experienced the Little Ice Age, a time when there were years with no summers at all, resulting in crop failures and famine.

Maybe global warming might not be such a bad thing after all!


Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


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.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • jwing

    With humility, we stand on the shoulders of our ancestors and are here only because they had the intestinal fortitude to carry on. My only hope is that whatever this amazing, beautiful life-giving earth throws at us ( includeing its sun), we can do honor to all those humans that suffered through plagues, ice ages and drudgery of less technological times and quit our whining. As humans, we can figure our way out of anything nature conjures up…it’s in our DNA.

  • Joe Ellison

    Thanks for this update. I will definitely need this.

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