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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

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

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.

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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Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

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