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

The cloud atlas

They're the most beautiful things that we barely even notice. A new book aims to fix that by finding the most spectacular images in the Met Office archives.

April's heat will not last – May will be showery

This April has been the hottest since records began, and the fourth sunniest April in the past 100 years. However, as is often the case with the UK's unpredictable climate, the good weather will not last for long. Meteorologists say the fine weather this month will be followed by a showery May.

Sale's grand plan for northern sales push hit by unfair local competition

Club had hoped for 20,000-strong crowd at Reebok fixture – but then along came the Manchester derby

Nuclear plant evacuated as aftershock strikes

Workers were evacuated from two nuclear plants yesterday as Japan was rattled by a strong aftershock and tsunami warning.

Britain enjoys warmest day of the year

Britain enjoyed the warmest day of the year today, with forecasters predicting Mediterranean temperatures for the weekend.

Ozone layer damaged by unusually harsh winter

The stratospheric ozone layer, which shields the Earth from the Sun's harmful ultraviolet rays, has been damaged to its greatest-ever extent over the Arctic this winter.

Search for survivors hampered by radiation

The search for bodies and survivors of this month's huge earthquake and tsunami in Japan is being hampered by growing fears of radiation leaking from the stricken nuclear plant in Fukushima.

Reactor radiation reaches Europe

Fallout from Japan's damaged nuclear plant is expected to reach Europe this week, but experts say the particles will be minuscule.

Whatever the weather: Rain and snow for 190 days a year – then summer sun transforms St Petersburg

St Petersburg is situated along the shores of the Neva Bay in the Gulf of Finland; it has a continental climate, moderated somewhat by the Baltic Sea. Because of the city's northerly latitude it experiences a huge variation in daylight hours during the year, ranging from six – in midwinter – to 19 hours a day. Twilight may last all night in early summer, from mid-May to mid-July, and this celebrated time is known as the White Nights.

Nuclear reactor meltdown 'likely' says official

Japanese officials are struggling with a growing nuclear crisis and the threat of multiple meltdowns, two days after the country's north-eastern coast was savaged by a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami.

Queensland devastated again as 'savage' storm brings 190mph winds

A cyclone believed to be the most powerful ever to strike Australia battered towns and tourist centres on the north Queensland coast, with winds of 186 mph ripping buildings apart and cutting power.

UK agency had warning of flooding in Pakistan

The impact of devastating floods that tore through Pakistan last summer affecting more than 20m people and leaving more than 1,500 dead, could have been greatly reduced if information gathered by weather monitors in Europe about imminent rains had been shared with the authorities in Islamabad.

Japan volcano erupts again

A volcano in southern Japan erupted today with its biggest explosion yet, shooting out a huge plume of gas, boulders and ash and breaking windows five miles away.

Battered state braced for cyclone

A cyclone raced raced toward Australia's flood-ravaged northeast yesterday, rattling nerves in a region that has already suffered billions of dollars of damage from a months-long crisis.

Cyclone headed for Australia's flood-ravaged north

A cyclone raced toward Australia's flood-ravaged northeast, rattling nerves in a region that has already suffered billions of dollars worth of damage from a monthslong crisis.

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peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
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Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
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Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
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Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all