January 8, 2014 |
If you're a giant space telescope squinting into the far reaches of the cosmos, gravity is your best friend. Using the magnifying powers of massive galaxy clusters, three of NASA's Great Observatories - the Hubble, Spitzer and Chandra space telescopes - are joining forces to discover some of the earliest galaxies in the universe. This effort, called Frontier Fields, released early results this week at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Maryland. The Hubble Space Telescope has been looking deep into the distant reaches of the universe, because the longer the light has traveled, the older the image we see is -- and the closer to the big bang it must be. Scientists want to understand these galaxies and their stellar contents in order to better understand the origins of our universe, which was born 13.8 billion years ago. But the light from these distant galaxies is incredibly faint - so much so that, beyond a certain point, it's difficult to pick it up in wavelengths beyond infrared.
September 27, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- It's become a familiar chapter in this sluggish economic recovery: Dysfunction in Washington drags down consumer confidence. After rising to a six-year high this summer, the University of Michigan reported Friday that its gauge of consumer sentiment fell sharply in September to 77.5 from 82.1 in the prior month. That's the lowest reading since April. "While few consumers expected a federal shutdown, complaints about the economic policies of the government have risen," said Richard Curtin, director of the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan survey.
September 17, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The federal deficit has shrunk to its lowest level since 2008, when President Obama won election at the start of the Great Recession, and is on track to decline even more thanks to an improving economy, higher taxes on the wealthy and reduced federal spending, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday. But even with declining deficits, the nation's debt keeps piling up, leaving lawmakers with no easy choices to fix the poor long-term fiscal outlook.
September 7, 2013 |
Is it time for a stellar identity crisis? Astronomers studying cold brown dwarfs have found that the boundary between star and planet might be much blurrier than once thought. These strange 'failed' stars, described online in the journal Science, could help shed light on the atmospheres of distant exoplanets. Scientists have managed to find out a lot about stars and their atmospheres by studying their light, including their temperatures and their distances. But that's easier said than done for exoplanets: The operating ground rules are very different between a massive, hot, bright star and a very small, cool, dark planet.
August 15, 2013 |
Gov. Jerry Brown, his investigative panel and a San Francisco Superior Court judge appear to be of one mind: A renewed strike against the Bay Area Rapid Transit District would jeopardize and harm the public's health, safety and welfare. Thus, the court ordered a 60-day injunction against a strike, as provided for by California labor law, until midnight Oct. 10. In most public transit labor disputes, unless binding arbitration is substituted for the injunction, state intervention is unlikely to solve the deeper problems and may only put off an eventual work stoppage.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 14, 2013 |
SAN FRANCISCO - The California Supreme Court unanimously rejected an attempt Wednesday to revive Proposition 8, ending the pending legal challenges over the 2008 ballot initiative that banned same-sex marriage. The state high court's decision, made in closed conference, does not foreclose future attempts in other courts to stop the marriages, though the chance of any new bid succeeding appeared dim. The court issued its decision in a brief order that did not explain the justices' reasoning.