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The Mountain of Blue Fire

Nature has a way of continually surprising us and inspiring awe within us, and it seems there are just as many fantastical wonders t...


Astronomers hunt for Earth-bound killer rocks

Giant rocks from space are hurtling toward us, on track to clobber our planet. But don't panic. Scientists say the next killer asteroid - unlike those that pummeled us in the past - can be deflected if we know about it far enough in advance.

So while many of us sleep, two Bay Area astronomers have recently begun standing sentinel against the cosmic cannonballs that could smash into Earth. Their big eye is "Nellie," the 36-inch reflecting telescope at the Chabot Space & Science Center in the Oakland hills.

Image Above: A view of the second of the three telescopes at Chabot. "Rachel," as this one is called, was built in 1915. (Brant Ward / The Chronicle)
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