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Luhman 16B is the nearest brown dwarf to Earth, and the third nearest star system to our solar system

White dwarf explodes in the galaxy next door: Type 1a supernova spotted in Galaxy M82

The stellar explosion is the closest to be spotted since 1987 and will provide a 'galactic yardstick' for astronomers judging distances across the universe

On Wednesday the moon will appear to be 4 per cent smaller than usual as it reaches its apogee

Mini-moon: the smallest moon of 2014 will appear in skies on Wedneday evening

The moon will reach its apogee three hours after it rises

Map of Universe accurate to 1% offers insight into dark energy and the curvature of spacetime

Map uses 'cosmic ripples' created by the formation of the Universe to create a 'standard ruler' to measure distances between 1.2 million galaxies

Johannes Kepler's 442nd birthday: Google Doodle celebrates 17th-century mathematician, astronomer and astrologer

Johanes Kepler, who was born on 27 December 1771, was born near Stuttgart and made his foray into astronomy after he worked as a maths teacher in Graz, Austria - where he became an associate of Prince Hans Ulrich von Eggenberg.

Solar flares have the capacity to create super-storms that trigger electricity blackouts

British space-weather centre will give advance protection from solar super-storms

Britain will next year have its own space-weather centre for predicting the arrival of solar “super-storms” that can trigger electricity blackouts across whole cities and knock out GPS satellites, the Government will announce today.

£2bn Gaia space probe blasts off on five-year mission to map a billion stars

It is also expected to discover thousands of previously unknown objects

Crab Nebula: Noble gas molecules detected in space for the first time

Molecular ions of argon hydride were detected in supernova remnant

Geminid meteor shower 2013: up to 120 meteors an hour expected Saturday morning

The annual Geminids are the most massive regular meteor shower

Artistic illustration of Europa's icy surface with a water jet in the foreground and Jupiter and the Sun in the background

New research raises hopes of finding alien life on Jupiter's icy moon Europa

Scientists believe life may exist within underground ocean - living off minerals and using tidal heat as a source of energy

Nasa's Hubble telescope finds signs of water on five distant planets

The water signatures are hazy due to atmospheric conditions, but scientists are 'very confident' that it exists

Comet ISON enters the field of view of the European Space Agency/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory

Comet Ison: Blow for stargazers as 'comet of the century' destroyed by the Sun

It was hoped that the comet would provide a spectacular sight in the sky next month - but the signs indicate that it had been burned up on its journey

In this composition image from Nasa, Comet Ison (bottom right) moves towards the sun

Comet Ison: Hope for 'comet of the century' after encounter with the Sun

Astronomers tracking the “comet of the century” believed it had flown too close to the Sun and had broken up, but hopes have now been reignited that part of it may have survived its close encounter.

TV Review - Light and Dark, BBC 4

Jim Al-Khalili's new two-part physics documentary Light and Dark had a scope that seemed just a little ambitious for two hours of television. "Light and Dark is essentially the story of everything we know and everything we don't know about our universe." So that's pretty much everything, then, Jim? Yet rather than the confusion of ideas you might expect, Al-Khalili's documentary illuminated a scientific story with its own, rather beautiful, internal logic.

Comet ISON latest: 'comet of the century' begins to brighten as it nears the Sun

The icy object might become the brightest comet of the century if it survives its 'sungrazing' journey through our solar system

Six-tailed asteroid leaves astronomers ‘dumbfounded’

The unusual object has been compared to a "rotating lawn sprinkler" and has led astronomers to develop a new theory of how asteroids 'die'

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Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
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New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

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Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
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By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

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Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
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Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
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Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
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New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

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Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

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The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes