Friday, January 13, 2006

Ok, now I need a bigger monitor.

For your viewing enjoyment, o Gentle Reader(s), here's the latest Hubble mosaic of the Orion Nebula. Well, a link to a story about the mosaic, with a vastly scaled down version of it. There's a couple of links to the full mosaic from there. The original's a whopping 18000 x 18000 pixels, so the Flash-based viewer may be your best option. That is, unless you refuse to use Flash, which is quite understandable.

I was hoping to work in a gratuitous Blade Runner reference here, you know, the whole "attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion" thing. Too bad the nebula's actually near Orion's belt. Since I don't exactly get a raging flood of visitors here, I could probably just make the movie reference and have it go unchallenged, but I would still know it's anatomically impossible, and it would bother me. This is probably an engineer thing.

So in place of that, let me briefly mention "Soldier", an obscure SF movie starring Kurt Russell that's loaded with Blade Runner and other movie references. A friend and coworker is firmly convinced this is the best movie ever made, and he even keeps a copy at his desk, to lend out to anyone who expresses an interest. So I'd be remiss if I didn't give it at least a passing mention.

Elsewhere in the universe, we have a new record holder for the fastest known pulsar. The thing spins 716 times per second, is roughly 16km across, and it's incredibly dense, weighing in at perhaps twice the mass of the sun. Wow. Sadly, there's no truth to the rumor it'll be named in honor of Karl Rove, who it closely resembles. Closer to home, there's another Titan flyby tomorrow. It's almost become a mundane occurrence anymore, which is pretty amazing when you think about it. Also, the Stardust probe is going to drop off a capsule full of comet dust on Sunday. This is actually kind of a bad thing. Not because it's bringing back some sort of nasty comet plague or anything, at least not so far as I know. It's just that it's going to be flying (roughly) over my house tomorrow night, which absolutely guarantees 100% cloud cover and a miserable rainstorm. And I'm sick of the rain, already. I'm really sick of all the rain.

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