News

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.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Panama
Languedoc Roussillon
Marrakesh & the Atlas Mountains
Bruges
The Jura Mountains
Dubrovnik & the Dalmatian Coast
Prices correct as of 17 September 2014
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week