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My July fund-raising campaign, celebrating the 13th anniversary of the start of this website, has now ended. This was the second most successful monthly fund-raising campaign ever. Thank you again to everyone who has who donated or subscribed. It is difficult to explain what your support means to me.


You can still donate or subscribe to support my work if you wish, either by giving a one-time contribution or a regular subscription. There are four 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

Two interacting galaxies, both with active supermassive black holes at their center

Interacting galaxies
Click for original image.

Cool image time! The picture to the right, cropped and reduced to post here, was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and released today. From the caption:

This new image from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope shows interacting galaxies known as AM 1214-255. These galaxies contain active galactic nuclei, or AGNs. An AGN is an extraordinarily luminous central region of a galaxy. Its extreme brightness is caused by matter whirling into a supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s heart.

Hubble observed the galaxy [on the right] as part of an AGN survey, with the aim of compiling a dataset about nearby AGNs to be used as a resource for astronomers investigating AGN physics, black holes, host galaxy structure, and more.

Note how the outer arms of both galaxies appear warped, with long streams of stars being pulled towards the other galaxy. Imagine living on a planet orbiting one of those stars as it finds itself over time farther and farther from its home galaxy, out in the vast emptiness of intergalactic space. While this sounds lonely, it has advantages for life, because isolated from the galaxy the star will not be threatened by supernovae, gamma ray bursts, and the host of other events that happen inside galaxies that can threaten biology.

It also means your night sky will be heralded by the rising and setting of two nearby giant galaxies.

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


  • GaryMike

    It also means that you’ll probably always know that you’ll forever be alone, because you’re too far away from everything for anyone to take a monetary interest in stumbling upon you.

  • Jeff Wright

    That little blob in the middle…imagine!

  • Star Bird

    Doomsday Machine destroys whole planets they uses the rubble to refuel itself and where is the Jupiter 2?

  • Lee S

    @ Jeff Wright…. That little blob in the middle… Perhaps a newly formed huge black hole due to the merger is accruing its own little galaxy…. It’s a shame we will all be dead in a hundred years… ( Probably much sooner! )… It would be amazing to live a time span that would let us watch such events play out for real!

    That said, we are lucky to be living in an age where we get to see snapshots of the wonder that is our universe.

  • Lee S

    On closer inspection, I think the blob in the middle is a different galaxy behind the two merging… And on the upper left of the photo are red shifted galaxies…. Each one with billions of stars…. It’s kinda mind shattering when you try and really think about it… It makes our struggles down here on earth seem very small… I’m sure everyone here has seen it, but for me, it never gets old..

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