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  A* page 2000! ...and fifteenJul 20, 2013 12:11 AM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Yesterday we hit page 100 of this episode, but there was a bigger milestone I'd meant to keep an eye on but then kinda didn't realize how quick it came up: last Monday's page 87 of this episode
 
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was the 2000th A* page! Woo! *\o/* Thanks for reading, everyone (especially if you've got through that many pages!!)! : D
 
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Almost as if to mark the occasion, Sgr A*, the 4-million-solar-mass supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, made the news this week! Observations since 2011 made by the ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile show that a large gas cloud, named "G2"--"three times larger than Pluto's orbit but with a total mass just three times that of the Earth" according to the BBC--has been pulled into a long ribbon by Sgr A*, with the front of the cloud already having made its closest approach to the hole, whose gravity has slingshotted it around at 10 million km/h, or 1% light speed. The ESO has more info, and extrapolated visualizations, here (note that the nice firey charts showing the cloud as a whip shape are simulations). G2 came within 25 billion km of the supermassive black hole, or "just over 3000 times the radius of the event horizon (or ~260 AU, 36 light hours)," according to Wikipedia, which adds that "this passage of G2 in 2013 will offer astronomers the chance to learn a lot more about how material accretes onto supermassive black holes. A suite of astronomical facilities are planning to observe this closest approach, with observations confirmed with Chandra, XMM, EVLA, INTEGRAL, Swift, Fermi and requested at VLT and Keck."
 
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I aim to start a new, large-scale ink painting this weekend, which I'll put right up for auction on eBay, starting at the bargain bidding price of $0.99. If I manage to finish it this weekend I will no doubt be pestering you with photos and so forth this coming week. I dunno what it'll be of yet but probably A*-ish!
 
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Oh yeah and the background in today's page was done with the side of the pencil lead, a technique Andrew Loomis mentions a lot in his classic guide for illustrators, (warning: artistic nudity) Figure Drawing for All It's Worth, which an A* reader got for me off my Amazon wish list (currently empty, thanks :DD) some time back and which I've finally been reading through in full detail. Even my clumsy application made a pretty nifty effect, I think! Thanks, Mr. Loomis, and again, readers!
 
 
 
 
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