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On February 5, 2023 I will celebrate my 70th birthday. Yay! As I do every year during this birthday month, I run a campaign to raise money to support my work here at Behind The Black. I do not run ads. My only support comes from my readers, which leaves me utterly free to speak my mind openly about space, culture, and politics. Please consider supporting me in this work by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:


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. Donate through Gabpay, using my email address zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

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

4. A Paypal Donation:

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5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
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Sunspot update: Activity recovers mostly from last month’s decline

It is the start of the month, and thus time to post NOAA’s monthly update of its graph tracking the number of sunspots on the Sun’s Earth-facing hemisphere. That graph is below, with some additional details added by me to provide a larger context.

After the first real decline in sunspot activity in June, the Sun recovered that decline almost completely in July. Though the ramp up to solar maximum has stalled somewhat in the last two months, the trend continues to point to a very active maximum, much higher than predicted as well as much stronger than the last very weak maximum in 2020.

July 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.

No days were blank during July, so this year’s total of blank days remains a measly one. We are definitely moving into the maximum, when Sun’s visible hemisphere will always have sunspots, continuously for the next few years.

If (a very big if) the present trend continues, the upcoming maximum will likely be quite strong, and occur much sooner than predicted. The trend also suggests the Sun might very well return this cycle to the active maximums seen routinely in the twentieth century.

As I have noted repeatedly for the past twelve years, an active Sun correlates with higher global temperatures on the Earth, while an inactive Sun correlates with cooling temperatures. Despite being generally dismissed by global warming activists — who are convinced humans are the only possible reason the climate can change these days — good climate scientists know that the Sun is a major factor in any long or even short term climate variations. An active Sun over the next decade will almost certainly contribute to any warming we might see in the global climate. In fact, it could very well be the main cause of that warming.

None of this however is known with any certainty. In fact, when it comes to the very complex climate of the Earth, nothing is known with any certainty. Remember that the next time some politician — who is without question and with total certainty completely ignorant of the science (no matter the party) — claims “the science is settled!”

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.


  • BtB’s Original Mark

    Mr. Z. – There is another major Geophysics story where “the science is (NOT) settled”.
    Apparently the Earth is rotating faster than its usual speed. On June 29, 2022, Earth completed one spin in 1.59 milliseconds less than 24 hours.
    Some stories mention the Chandler Wobble, an irregular movement of Earth’s geographical poles across the surface of the globe.
    Other explanations involve Seismic activity and/or the motion of our Earth’s inner molten core.
    Of course the Climate Fanatics are touting the melting of the glaciers at the the poles.
    Here is an article from the website Interesting Engineering:

  • Phill O

    Paragraph 4 after the graph is probably the best estimate of our current rend.

    Nice work Bob!

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