Solar storm threat as Sun does magnetic backflip
The Sun’s magnetic field is about to reverse – a cosmic event that happens every 11 years and sends waves of energy through the solar system. What will the effects be here on Earth?
New superclock redefines the length of a second
Scientists have developed a new timekeeping device which loses only one second each 300 million years. It is unlikely to make anybody more punctual – so why are scientists excited?
Stargazers mourn death of Patrick Moore
He was an amateur, not a trained scientist. But Sir Patrick Moore’s eccentric enthusiasm popularised astronomy. What’s the true value of someone who can make a difficult subject engaging?
Police bombarded with calls as ‘huge fireball’ sighted
A large meteorite may have hit southern England, after blazing a fiery trail across the UK. It was a gentle reminder of a deadly threat: a big enough asteroid could wipe out the entire human...
Leap year babies celebrate birthdays at last
Today is a ‘leap day’ – an extra day inserted into the calendar in an effort to keep the seasons from slipping out of sync. Even today, keeping dates in line with nature takes constant...
Earth hit by space hurricane as solar flare strikes
The worst solar storm in eight years has smashed into the planet’s magnetosphere, causing satellite failures and computer glitches. The upside? Things could have been much much worse.
‘Habitable’ planet discovered orbiting distant star
A planet called Kepler-22b is the strongest known candidate for extraterrestrial life, astronomers have confirmed. But would finding ET really be such good news?
World’s most powerful telescope turns to the stars
The Alma sub-millimetre array, a huge telescope made of dishes spread over miles of Andean desert, has captured its first extraordinary images, shedding new light on the birth of stars.