Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

 
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

 
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

 
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, 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.

Sunspot update: Sun continues to be more active than predicted

Time for our monthly sunspot update, using NOAA’s most recent monthly graph of sunspot activity. That graph is below, annotated to show the previous solar cycle predictions and thus provide context. It covers all activity through the month of November.

The pattern for the past two years since the end of the solar minimum continues, with sunspot activity consistently exceeding the prediction of NOAA’s panel of solar scientists, as indicated by the red curve. The activity in November dropped very slightly from October, but remained more active than the prediction.


November 2021 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.

The entire month of November never saw the Sun blank. There were sunspots on its facing hemisphere from the start of the month and every day thereafter. In fact, the Sun now has not been blank since October 18, 2021. And that day ended a month-long string of active days that began on September 18, 2021.

It is very possible we shall not see a blank Sun now for years, as the activity continues to be higher than predicted. We should also see that activity rising in the coming years, leading to maximum sometime around 2025, though the higher activity now suggests the possibility that the maximum could arrive early as well.

Last month I made a prediction that this increased activity might be accompanied by higher global temperatures. That prediction remains. What I also added about that prediction however bears repeated:

If the higher solar activity continues, and we see a strong maximum, I predict that we shall also see a rise in global temperatures in the next decade. Global warming activists will loudly claim that this rise was caused by human activity, and that everyone (but them) must stop using cars and airplanes and fossil fuels to save the planet, even though they will not really know if the two are connected.

It is important to note that I am not doing a similar thing, claiming that the rise in temperatures is definitely linked to higher solar activity. Just as global warming activists have no idea why the temperature rises, neither do I. All I am noting is that changes in solar activity has matched changes in the global temperature, and if we really want to find out what causes those temperature changes, we need to consider all possibilities.

Right now, too many climate scientists dismiss the possible contribution of the Sun. And for them to do good and trustworthy science, they need to stop doing that.

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14 comments

  • Shallow Minded Reader

    What does this mean for the 10M ham band?

  • Shallow Minded Reader: An active sun is usually good for ham radio.

  • wayne

    speaking of radio—
    I’m on the SW Michigan coast, the past month or so I’ve been receiving AM radio from Iowa and NY/PA.
    Is this a similar phenomenon with HAM radio band’s? Or are AM signals bouncing off different parts of the atmosphere?

  • MDN

    Well at least they’ve got the slope right so far.

  • Shallow Minded Reader

    Wayne
    Sunspot activity affects different radio signal wave lengths differently. The 10M (28-29 MHZ) band has been closed as unusable for quite some time. Commericial AM (medium wave) skips at night. Medium wave skip is usually better in the summer. AM, aplitude mondulation is the type of modulate of the radio signal. In the ham world, we use CW (continuous wave) for morse code transmission in the Short Wave bands and Single Side Band for voice communication in SW.

  • wayne

    Shallow Minded Reader–
    –thanks for that, I’m only vaguely familiar with HAM radio.
    Know anything about TV signal propagation? Cut the cord (and the dish) some time ago, now I have a medium size antenna in my attic. The stations I’m most interested in receiving are listed as “2 edge” at my distance, which I assume (dangerous!) require the signal to bounce twice?

  • Shallow Minded Reader

    Hi Wayne
    TV broadcast is VHF, very high frequency, wavelength 5M to 3M These short wavelengths don’t skip. They travel line of sight. So farther away the transmitter tower, the higher your antenna should be. You should also know which direction is the tower, so you can aim your antenna accordingly. I would imagine that you need a good directional antenna on your roof and aimed properly.

  • wayne

    Shallow Minded Reader-
    (I used to have a fairly good grasp on “TV,” until they went all digital.)
    Oh yeah, I’m having flashbacks to my youth and Radio Shack.
    With my geography, surrounded by sand-dunes and trees, and the vagaries of historical tv-transmitter location, what I really need is a tower.

    pivoting–I’ll drop this in here:

    Philosophical Society of Washington
    Meeting #2,450: December 3rd, 2021
    “The Arecibo Observatory, Francisco Córdova, Director.”
    https://youtu.be/-ftcM3deuDA
    1:46:10
    (presentation starts at 13:15)

    “Francisco will discuss the history and accomplishments of the Arecibo Observatory, the scientific and cultural reasons for building a new telescope of even greater capabilities, and the technical and engineering plans that have been developed to date.”

  • Jay

    Shallow Minded Reader,
    For the first time in years, ten meters has finally opened to DX. Last weekend I was able to contact a station in Argentina via CW and about a month ago I was able to make a contact in Brazil by SSB. The Sun is becoming more active again and it has been missed.

    73.

  • Shallow Minded Reader

    Jay,
    Great news, I’ll get my antenna back up and see what happens. I’ve got a vertical and a 1/2 wave Dipole. What are you using?
    73’s

  • Jay

    Shallow Minded Reader,
    My two HF antennas are an A3S with the 40m add-on (10/15/20/40) and a 160m Loop that I can tune for any band. I usually run 100w, but I do have an amplifier that can go to 1kw. Good to see a fellow Ham here.

    73,

  • Andi

    I used to run about 100w into a multiband HF vertical. Since I moved several years ago, I haven’t gotten around to putting it back up, so have been satisfied with 2m FM.

    73s (and 88s as appropriate)

  • Mitch S.

    Not very active Technician class here.
    My Dad, now a silent key, was an Extra.
    I still have his Kenwood TS940S. One of these days I’ll hook up an antenna and do some listening.
    Cell phones and the internet have taken some of the thrill and adventure from ham radio.
    I remember being so excited when My Dad did DX to various countries.
    And an old friend of mine had a QSL from the late King Hussein of Jordan who was not only a ham but a jet rated pilot who flew his own Royal jetliner.
    A local friend has a teen son with an interest. Think he got a ticket, I know he’s been using a software defined rig. So there is some future.

  • Jay

    Good to hear from you both Andi and Mitch!
    My main rig would be considered a hybrid SDR, but I do have an SDR kit based on the Raduino that I need to finish up. I am also working on an automatic tracker so I can work the satellites from inside of the house instead of “waving” the Arrow-2 antenna around outside (Especially during winter).
    I encourage all the Hams here to get on the air in these winter months. Since all this Covid nonsense is going away, there are a lot of people going out and activating rare countries. The Sun and DX are back.

    73,

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