Wed11262014

News

VTA plans for  El Camino Real prompt skepticism

VTA plans for El Camino Real prompt skepticism


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Valley Transit Authority proposal to convert general-use right lanes on El Camino Real to bus-only use received a chilly reception last week.

A Valley Transit Authority proposal that prioritizes public transit along El...

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Schools

MVHS students attempt Guinness World Record

MVHS students attempt Guinness World Record


Barry Tonge/Special to the Town Crier
Local residents participate in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for making the most friendship braceletsNov. 9 at Mountain View High.

More than 300 Mountain View High School students gathered around...

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Community

Bigger, better days ahead for Foothill Veterans Resource Center

Bigger, better days ahead for Foothill Veterans Resource Center


Student veterans at Foothill College can seek support, access resources and socialize at the Veterans Resource Center.
Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Carmela Xuereb sees bigger things in store for the Foothill College Veterans Resource Center. One...

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Comment

Serving those who served us: Editorial

“Thank you for your service” often comes across as lip service to our veterans. As always, actions speak louder than words.

The Rotary Club of Los Altos has taken plenty of action, contributing time and money to improve opportunities for veterans th...

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Special Sections

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
Hangar One, pictured here last January, will be restored under an agreement between Google and NASA.

NASA and Google Inc. forged an agreement last week that allows Google to lease a portion of NASA’s historic Moffett Fede...

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Business

Report: Los Altos homes priciest in U.S.

Report: Los Altos homes priciest in U.S.


ToWn Crier File Photo
The average cost of a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Los Altos is 30 times more than the price of a similar home in Cleveland, according to a Coldwell Banker report.

The average cost of one Silicon Valley home can purchase ...

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Books

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree


Author Tiffany Papageorge is scheduled to sign copies of new her book 11 a.m. Dec. 6 at Linden Tree Books, 265 State St., Los Altos.

Papageorge’s “My Yellow Balloon” (Minoan Moon, 2014) is a Mom’s Choice “Gold” winner. In the book, the Los Gat...

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People

RICHARD CAMPBELL WAUGH

RICHARD CAMPBELL WAUGH

Richard Campbell Waugh of Los Altos Hills, Ca. died at home October 31, 2014 surrounded by his family and caregivers.

Dick was born 1917, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He earned a BS in chemistry from University of Arkansas and a PhD in organic chemi...

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Travel

Weekday Wanderlust highlights the joys of armchair travel

Weekday Wanderlust highlights the joys of armchair travel


Dan Prothero/Special to the Town Crier
Travel writers at the October gathering of the Weekday Wanderlust group include, from left, James Nestor, Kimberley Lovato, Paul Rauber, Marcia DeSanctis and Lavinia Spalding.

Travel writing should either ̶...

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Stepping Out

Pacific Ballet's 'Nutcracker' opens Friday in downtown Mtn. View

The Pacific Ballet Academy is back with its 24th annual production of “The Nutcracker,” scheduled this weekend in downtown Mountain View.

The story follows young Clara as she falls into a dream where her beloved nutcracker becomes the daring prince ...

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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A comet draws near

An extraordinarily bright comet might share our skies this winter. Comet ISON, discovered in 2012 by Russian astronomers, is currently speeding toward the sun at several miles per second. It is expected to significantly brighten as it nears the sun, and hopeful predictions estimate that it may rival the moon in terms of brightness.

Astronomers believe that comet ISON originated from the Oort Cloud – a spherical cloud of comets that surrounds the solar system at a distance 1,000 times farther than the orbit of Pluto. Comets are occasionally perturbed in the Oort Cloud due to gravity and are sent on orbits that bring them into the solar system.

Comet ISON will make its closest approach to the sun Nov. 28, at a distance of approximately 800,000 miles above the sun’s surface – several times closer than the orbit of Mercury. As it approaches the sun, the water, ice and dust that make up the comet will turn into vapor and create the characteristic comet tail. It is this tail that is readily viewable – comet tails can reach lengths approaching the sun-Earth distance (93 million miles). The nucleus of comet ISON – the solid part of the comet similar to a dirty snowball in composition – is much too small to be visible (only a few miles across).

While many well-known comets make periodic trips to our solar system – Halley’s Comet, for instance, which will next return to the inner solar system in 2061 – comet ISON is a nonperiodic comet and will permanently leave the solar system after its flyby this winter. Comet ISON can be found in the constellation Virgo the Maiden in November. The best time to observe it is shortly before sunrise.

While comet ISON will hopefully prove to be a bright sight even under city skies, it is important to remember that estimating the brightness of comets is notoriously difficult.

“Predicting the behavior of comets is like predicting the behavior of cats – can’t really be done,” said Don Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office.

Katherine Kornei grew up in Los Altos and earned a doctorate in astronomy from UCLA in 2012. She works as a science educator and writer in Portland, Ore.

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