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SCIENCE
June 6, 2012 | By Eryn Brown and Thomas Curwen, Los Angeles Times
Across Southern California, sky watchers assembled Tuesday afternoon for a chance to view the last-in-a-lifetime transit of Venus. They donned protective glasses and peered into filtered telescopes to watch the planet as it crossed in front of the sun for the last time in more than 100 years. They spoke of watching a tiny black dot creeping ever so slowly across the solar disk with a combination of reverence and resignation. "It's like watching grass grow," said 93-year-old Don Nicholson, describing Venus' 6-hour, 40-minute progression, most of which was visible locally before sunset.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 25, 2011 | By Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times
Jerry Schad had a simple explanation for his ability to quickly experience every mile he wrote about in his guidebooks, which helped expand hiking opportunities in Southern California: "I run through the boring parts and walk through the interesting ones. " His "Afoot and Afield in San Diego County," first published in 1986, is regarded as the preeminent guide to the region's trails. He followed it with two other well-regarded "Afoot and Afield" books, on Orange County and then Los Angeles County.
SCIENCE
June 18, 2011 | Amina Khan
Astronomers have discovered a hidden collection of supermassive, growing black holes dating back to the early universe -- showing, for the first time, that black holes populated the cosmos far earlier than thought. The findings, published online Wednesday in the journal Nature, could help scientists understand how these black holes are born, how big they grow and how galaxies develop with them. "We know the nearest galaxies, like our own Milky Way, all have supermassive black holes in the center," said lead author Ezequiel Treister, an astronomer at the University of Hawaii.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 9, 2011 | By Nick Owchar, Los Angeles Times
How I Killed Pluto And Why It Had It Coming Mike Brown Spiegel & Grau: 267 pp., $25 Moon A Brief History Bernd Brunner Yale University Press: 290 pp., $25 Pluto. Poor little guy. He never wanted much. The others could be bigger, they could be better-looking or brag about themselves ("I'm burning hot!" or "I have rings!" or "I support life!"). He didn't care. All he wanted was to be part of the planet club. And for about 75 years, that tiny frozen world billions of miles from the sun was a card-carrying member.
SCIENCE
July 10, 2010 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
When the moon blots out the sun's blinding rays on Sunday, a sliver of the Earth's surface will be plunged into eerie darkness. Travelers who have crossed thousands of miles to witness the celestial show will gaze at the sky and, for a few minutes, see a thing most people never get to see: a halo of fire — the sun's corona — flickering around the edges of the silhouette of the moon. But Jay Pasachoff, over on Easter Island, may be looking down more than up — calibrating his instruments, checking for technical glitches, peering through lenses.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 25, 2009 | Thomas H. Maugh II
Astronomer Frank J. Low, the experimental genius who developed and distributed sensors for infrared astronomy and performed the first successful observations above the Earth's atmosphere, died June 11 in Tucson after a long illness, the University of Arizona announced. He was 75.
SCIENCE
December 13, 2008 | Times Staff and Wire Reports
Researchers using the Hubble Space Telescope have found evidence for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting a star 63 light-years from Earth, the first demonstration that it is possible to monitor atmospheric chemistry on such distant exoplanets. Carbon dioxide could be associated with processes involving life, but in this case it probably is not because the Jupiter-sized planet, called HD 189733b, is too hot. Previous observations by Hubble and the Spitzer Space Telescope have also found water vapor and methane in the planet's atmosphere.
SCIENCE
November 14, 2008 | John Johnson Jr., Johnson is a Times staff writer.
Reaching a milestone in the search for Earth-like planets in the universe, two teams of astronomers say they have parted the curtains of space to take the first pictures of planets beyond our solar system. The first team, led by UC Berkeley researchers, used the Hubble Space Telescope to take a picture of a giant planet orbiting the star Fomalhaut, 25 light-years away. "It's almost science fiction," said Berkeley astronomer Eugene Chiang.
SCIENCE
September 13, 2008 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
A gamma-ray burst bright enough to be seen by the naked eye occurred when a collapsing star ejected a jet almost directly at Earth, researchers reported Thursday in the journal Nature. Emissions reached Earth on March 19 from a star in the constellation Bootes about 7.5 billion light-years away. Astronomers said that, considering its distance from Earth, it was the brightest explosion ever observed.
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