A Tribute to the Challenger & Columbia
I have no doubt that all of us can remember where we were or what we were doing on that fateful January day of the Challenger launch. And I did not work on this page until March during the anniversary of the Columbia shuttle disaster -- another such day when one remembers only too well where they were in their life.
Glittering stars and wisps of gas create a backdrop for the self-destruction of a massive star, Supernova 1987A, in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a nearby galaxy. Astronomers in the southern hemisphere witnessed the brilliant explosion of this star on February 23, 1987.
The remnant of Supernova 1987A is surrounded by inner and outer rings of material set in a forest of ethereal, diffuse clouds of gas. The many bright blue stars nearby are massive stars, each more than six times heftier than our sun. They are members of the same generation of stars as the star that went supernova about 12 million years ago.
In a few years, the supernova's fast moving material will sweep the inner ring with full force, heating and exciting its gas, and will produce a new series of cosmic fireworks that will offer a striking view for more than a decade.
I must share my experience of beading on real suede -- it is nasty stuff to work with! But I have a large piece of yardage and thought it would be a perfect background for this astronomical depiction. Unlike Ultrasuede, real suede is tough to get a needle into, but I am a stubborn old girl and stuck with it to the finish.
Garnet is the birthstone for January and many, tiny garnet beads have been worked into those rings of gas. Crystal AB rivolis have been used for the bright blue stars and flat crystal rondelles and 4mm crystals were used for the smaller stars.