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A* Episode 30 
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Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:18 pm
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NASA just linked to a Caltech article on the first-ever measurement of temperature swings from "winds" emanating from an active black hole. The research, using NASA's orbiting NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array) X-ray telescope and the ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray space telescope, measured the active supermassive black hole at the center of "galaxy IRAS 13224-3809 in the constellation Centaurus," which is apparently about 1.3 billion light years away. Observing the "winds" of gas shooting out of the black hole's accretion disc at 1/4 light speed, the scientists noticed that the gas would stop and start absorbing certain parts of the X-rays coming from "the edge of the black hole" within spans of a few hours. "The team concluded that the X-rays were actually heating up the winds to very high temperatures—millions of degrees Fahrenheit—such that they became incapable of absorbing any more X-rays. The winds then cool off, and the absorption features return, starting the cycle over again. 'This is the first time we have seen that winds are interacting with the black hole's radiation.'"


Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:51 pm
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Readers supporting the comic through my Patreon campaign are a big part of what keeps A* going! Here's a sketch I got to send to one of them for their support:

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Thank you very much! : D


Sat Mar 04, 2017 6:56 pm
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: )


Mon Mar 06, 2017 11:32 pm
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Here's a sketch I sent to a reader for supporting the comic through my Patreon campaign:

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Thank you *very* much! Your support makes a huge difference! : DD


Tue Mar 07, 2017 10:17 pm
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Wednesday archive art sale! And this is the last one I have from recent episodes; after this I'll probably have to start rescanning older good bits of art I still have, because I scan them more accurately now than I used to. : P And that will take longer and maybe I won't manage to have a new sale each week. But this week we're still all set! The special low-priced auction, which is right here on eBay, is of the 16" x 6.75" watercolor painting I made for episode 30 page 19, where Selenis is being examined by The Pearl's mysterious Council and, thanks to the holographic projections of former Selenis-like visitations they're displaying, we get a single illustration with not one but *three* Selenises : o

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Three times the danger! Three times the fun! A convergence of this magnitude may never happen again, I don't know! The auction only lasts a week!

As always, you can follow along and catch my other various A* original art sales by watching my eBay profile. Thanks for checking out my art! : )


Wed Mar 08, 2017 10:42 pm
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We haven't had any Selenis in the comic for a few days now, so here's our heroine in disguise in a sketch I sent to a reader for supporting the comic through my Patreon campaign : ) :

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Thank you! The support I get from readers through Patreon is HUGE in keeping this comic going! ^_^


Thu Mar 09, 2017 10:52 pm
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Selenis as a cigarette girl? Well I don't know but anyway it's a sketch I sent to a reader for supporting the comic through my Patreon campaign : ) :

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Thank you very much! : D


Sat Mar 11, 2017 6:34 pm
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NASA's Cassini probe is getting some great stuff in its last sweeps through the Saturnian system; it just passed within 25,000 km of the tiny, 35-km-wide inner moon Pan and found the moon's shape dominated by a massive equatorial ridge:

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image by ASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute (source)

^ More photos of the strangely shaped moon on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's site at that "source" link. : ) The equatorial ridge forms when material from Saturn's nearby rings falls onto the moon as it sweeps past them. Such ridges are not unusual among Saturn's moons: Atlas and the much larger Iapetus have them, for instance.

Thanks to my brother for tipping me off to the new Pan photos. : )


Mon Mar 13, 2017 9:46 pm
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I gotta go pack up some A* original art for a few eBay bidders :") so I'm skippin' out of blogging, woo-hoo!


Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:49 pm
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Okay! I'm out of original art pieces I consider particularly nifty from the last few A* episodes to try to sell you on in our weekly Wednesday archive art sales, so now we're going back in time--way, way back to late 2011, toward the end of episode 13, when I had just switched from digital to traditional art, and was experimenting with various techniques. I had just got some crisp new paper to try out, and I had picked up a few dried sea sponges on a whim at a local art store, so I took those with some ink and ink wash and lots of white ink on the sponges and came up with this extra-large illustration on 11" x 17" paper which is now up for auction at a special sale price right over here on eBay:

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If you look closely you can see a rectangle in light pencil sort of just inside the sides of the illustration, marking my normal 6.75" x 16" A* page size. At 17" long, this one is a little too big to fit in the imaging area of my current scanner. : P You can see it in full in this photo (bigger images in the eBay listing):

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I should probably do more sea sponge stars because those came out pretty cool! Then again, I feel kind of bad for sea sponges, so maybe not. Back in the day (my 2011 blog post for this piece is here) I called this one "Ripple" because the 70 lb Bienfang Raritan drawing paper I was trying out was thin enough that it sort of rippled up in the margins after the center part was inked over.

By my count, counting this one I have six remaining 11" x 17" A* pieces left to sell--I guess seven if I want to take the one at my parents' house that we've been putting in art shows out of its big frame...maybe we'll see how these others do. Three of them are A* comic pages, while the others are special A* illustrations like this one. They're all in ink! So those will keep these Wednesdays busy for the next few months. : )


Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:13 am
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