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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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Mickey Rourke celebrates his victory against opponent Elliot Seymour
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Former ‘Daily Mirror’ editor Piers Morgan
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Gordon and Tana Ramsay arrive at the High Court, London
newsTV chef gives evidence against his father-in-law in court case
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Actor Burt Reynolds last year
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Johnny Handle, Northumberland, Ted Relph, President of Lakeland Dialect Society, and Sid Calderbank, Lancashire, founder of the National Dialect Day
newsMeet the enthusiasts determined to stop them dying out
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The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
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The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
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Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
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The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game