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  Checkpoint interview; nebula Sharpless 2-106Apr 17, 2012 8:36 AM PDT | url
Added 1 new A* page:Checkpoint Interviews just posted an interview with me about A*, in which we talk about the origins of the comic and why it is the way it is now and so forth. Thanks for the interview, Checkpoint!
The Hubble Space Telescope Google+ account posted a pretty gorgeous photo of the nebula Sharpless 2-106 over the weekend:
image by NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) (source)
I can't find an entry for this nebula on Wikipedia, so all I know about the nebula comes from that G+ post: it's several light years long, 2,000 light years away, and being blown out into that "angel wings" shape by a large young central star, IRS 4 ("Infrared Source 4"). Infrared studies of the cloud have found it to be home to over 600 brown dwarfs--proto stars less than a 10th the size of the Sun: too small to sustain nuclear fusion. The photo is a combination of visible spectrum (the bluish hydrogen emissions from the central star) and near-infrared (the reddish gas and dust around it) filters on Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3.
Boring internet trivia related to the above photo:
- Hubble's G+ post also links to the entry for the photo and article on, but for some reason the versions of the photo there, though available in much higher resolution, are way blurrier. I guess the Hubble folks are saving the best for G+? :P
- Sharing posts found on G+ is way more of a pain than it should be. Especially if you're using a page profile (my A* G+ page profile, in this case), when you use the little "link to this post" menu item to get a URL for a post you see on G+, it tends to give you a URL that...only you can see--for other people, it just goes to your profile. Not all that useful, G+. ;P
It was pointed out to me that I can get a sharable URL for a post by reposting it (although I can't repost my own posts, so to link to one of them I have to go view it from a different profile ;P); I had done that with the Hubble Sharpless 2-106 post, but doing that also strips out the identity of the person you follow who had actually shared the post with you, which is not really cool. Credit where credit is due, G+! :P Anyway sometimes people are a little taken aback if they see their name pop up in the blog, so to be on the safe side I'll just link to the sharer's profile. Thank you, sir!
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