Photo: The Egg Nebula. NASA, W. Sparks (STScI) and R. Sahai (JPL)
By Kevin Schindler
As featured in the Arizona Daily Sun on March 27, 2021
We celebrate most holidays with a variety of imagery, and Easter is no exception. For example,
that lattice of sugary yumminess glazed atop the hot cross buns we enjoy on Good Friday
represents redemption, while the colorful eggs of Easter Sunday celebrate rebirth. Not
surprisingly, these icons have found their way into the night sky. Within the constellation
Cygnus, the Swan, lies the asterism known as the Northern Cross and an enigmatic, elongated
feature worth further exploration. Dubbed the Egg Nebula, it represents the transitional phase of a red giant star evolving into a white dwarf.
From 1945 to 2011, the Air Force operated a scientific research facility at Hanscom Air Force
Base near Lexington, Massachusetts. Originally founded for communications development, the
facility went through several name changes but by 1974 was known as the Air Force Cambridge
Research Laboratories (AFCRL). In one study at the facility that year, scientists detected more
than 2,000 sources of infrared radiation. One of the these, catalogued as CRL 2688 (CRL stands
for Cambridge Research Laboratories), caught the ...