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

'Controlled' power cuts likely as Sun storm threatens national grid

Officials in Britain and the United States are preparing to make controlled power cuts to their national electricity supplies in response to a warning of a possible powerful solar storm hitting the Earth. In an interview with The Independent, Thomas Bogdan, director of the US Space Weather Prediction Centre, said that controlled power "outages" will protect the National Electricity Grids against damage which could take months or even years to repair should a large solar storm collide with the Earth without any precautions being taken.

The view from another galaxy

This is very probably what we look like to the passing inter-galactic traveller.

Found: the blast at the beginning of the universe

Astronomers may have detected the most distant and ancient object ever seen, a massive explosion that lit up the early universe soon after its birth. When the blast, known as a gamma ray burst (GRB), detonated, the universe was less than 4 per cent of its present age and 10 per cent of its present size.

Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain, By David Eagleman

Sometimes you just don't know what's going on in your head

Leading article: Prize fighters

One of Alastair Campbell's most celebrated – and sensible – pieces of advice to Tony Blair was that "we don't do God". The perils of "doing God" were on full display yesterday, after the announcement that Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, former President of the Royal Society and Master of Trinity College Cambridge, was this year's winner of the Templeton Prize. This award – which was once for "progress in religion", but has since broadened its remit – routinely raises passions, a phenomenon probably not unrelated to its £1m value. Even so, this year's outpouring of vitriol was unusual.

Satellite of love and fear: How the moon has lit up the human imagination

The frenzy in cyberspace over the 'Super Moon' reveals the enduring pull of lunar myths.

Astronomy: A new generation starts to reach for the stars

Telescope sales are rocketing because of Brian Cox's hit TV shows. Steve Connor on how things are looking up in amateur astronomy

Minor British Institutions: The cat flap

The cat flap, besides being especially popular in Britain, has claims to be our invention; by Isaac Newton, no less, who cut a hole in the door to his Cambridge rooms to allow his cat to come and go without interrupting the Newtonian cogitations. He then cut a smaller hole for its kittens.

Boyle, By Michael Hunter

Though his discoveries have been overshadowed by his younger contemporary Isaac Newton, this lucid and absorbing life reminds us that Robert Boyle "stands at the roots of British empiricism".

Sir Patrick Moore: In tune with music of the spheres

He played piano with Einstein and counts rock icons among his friends. But for Britain's best-loved astronomer, the stars in the sky are all that matter. Paul Bignell meets Sir Patrick Moore

A glimpse deep into a galaxy far, far away

Persian astronomers in the 10th century first documented the Andromeda galaxy using nothing but the naked human eye. They called it the "little cloud" and since then our nearest galactic neighbour has been captured countless times by the most advanced telescopes.

Mike Brown: The astronomer who slayed planet Pluto

When Brown discovered a distant world called Eris, he didn't realise it would see Pluto kicked out of the Solar System – and his letterbox fill with hate mail. Nick Harding meets him

Telescope captures new image of star nursery

A dazzling new image of a star nursery known as the Lagoon Nebula has been captured by a super-sensitive British-built telescope.

Cloud hides eclipse from most of UK

Dense cloud cover disappointed most British sky-gazers hoping to catch a glimpse of a partial solar eclipse today.

Brian Marsden: Astronomer who played a central role in Pluto's downgrading to dwarf-planet status

The British-born astronomer Brian Marsden, Emeritus Director of the Minor Planet Centre (MPC), once famously – but wrongly – warned of an asteroid collision with Earth. He also helped demote Pluto to "dwarf planet" status and accurately predicted the return of Comet Swift-Tuttle.

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Independent Travel
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
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
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Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future