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I am now in the third week of my annual February birthday fund-raising drive. The first two weeks were good, but not record-setting.


There are still two weeks left in this campaign however. If you have been a regular reader and a fan of my work and have not yet donated or subscribed, please consider doing so. I take no ads, I keep the website clean from pop-ups and annoying demands (most of the time). Thus, 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

Chandra X-rays a giant hand in space

A cosmic hand
Click for original image.

Cool image time! The picture to the right, cropped, reduced, and sharpened to post here, was taken by the Chandra X-ray Observatory, with data from the orbiting IXPE producing the lines that indicate the orientation of the magnetic field lines.

The image was part of research studying what the scientists call Pulsar Wind Nebulae (PWNe).

[E]arly-on when the new-born pulsar is still deep in its parent supernova remnant, or at late times after it has escaped to the relatively uniform interstellar medium, the pulsar wind is often uniform around the pulsar spin or velocity axis. In projection on the sky such structures have bilateral symmetry, that is, the two halves mirror each other. This makes them look (vaguely) like animals. This has led to many PWNe collecting animal monikers (‘The Mouse’, ‘The Dragonfly’, ‘The Rabbit’ – we are guilty of some of these…).

In between these early and late phases, the story is often more complex and the PWN interaction with the supernova shock wave leads to complicated morphologies. One of the prime examples is the PWN in the supernova remnant RCW 89 (also known as MSH 15-5(2)). Here the complex interactions form the PWN into the `Cosmic Hand’. Wanting to map the magnetic fields which structure this hand, the IXPE team took a long hard stare at MSH 15-5(2) and its central pulsar.

The scientists admit that the match between IXPE’s data and the structure of the hand is not really a surprise, but confirming the match was necessary if they are ever going to figure out the fundamental laws that govern magnetic fields, laws that presently are not well understood, at all.

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

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