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

Between the Covers 21/10/2012

The award for the most eccentric and wonderful book launch party of the year so far goes to Carlton Books' The Cosmic Tourist: The 100 Most Awe-Inspiring Destinations in the Universe (£25) by Chris Lintott, Brian May and Sir Patrick Moore.

Let gifted students swap universities, says Lord Rees

Students from disadvantaged backgrounds should be able to swap universities after two years and transfer to a Russell Group institution if they show talent, according to one of the country's top scientists.

Scientists find Earth-like planet Alpha Centauri Bb in neighbouring star system but rule-out possibility of life thanks to its 1,500C surface

The planet is the closest and smallest among about 800 'exoplanets' that scientists have identified beyond the Solar System since 1995 when they detected the first extra-solar planet.

'Armchair astronomers' discover planet with four suns

A planet with four suns has been identified by two “armchair astronomers”.

The interior of the planet 55 Cancri e - an extremely hot planet with a surface of mostly graphite surrounding a thick layer of diamond

Newly discovered 'super-Earth' is made of diamonds, say scientists

It may not twinkle like a star but it is still a diamond in the sky according to astronomers who have found a rocky planet similar to Earth but made of the precious gemstone.

The spiral around the red giant R Sculptoris is probably caused by a hidden companion star

Highest telescope reveals wonders of the Universe

A stunning image of a spiral shell of cosmic dust and gas around a red giant star was captured by astronomers using the world's highest terrestrial telescope.

Astronomers using data from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope caught two clusters full of massive stars

Starstruck: Hubble captures colliding clusters

Astronomers at Nasa did a double take when they saw this image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Relatives of Pinochet's victims search the desert for shards of bone ... the remnants of their loved ones

Nostalgia for the Light, Patricio Guzman, 90 mins, (12a)

On the high wastes of the Atacama, General Pinochet built his death star

Japanese astronomers claim to have found 'earliest galaxy'

A team of Japanese astronomers using telescopes on Hawaii say they have seen the oldest galaxy, a discovery that is competing with other “earliest galaxy” claims.

Indian sky watchers witness the Transit of Venus

A rare celestial spectacle, the Transit of Venus, unfolded in the morning sky across India yesterday.

The rare celestial display will not be visible again until 2117 and 2125

Astronomers around the UK prepare to see a rare celestial display – the transit of Venus

Stargazers will hope the clouds part tomorrow at 5am to allow them to see the planet cross the Sun

Howard Jacobson: I've played only once, but I'm a lifelong cricketer

What’s charming about cricket’s fraternity is it has a keen sense of the ridiculous and excludes no one

New perspective on Milky Way

Around one billion stars in the Milky Way can be seen together for the first time in an image captured over a decade by astronomers.

Galileo blasts through launch problems

The first satellites in the EU's navigation system are in orbit, after years of wrangling over cost and security. By Mark Leftly reports
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions