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Stargazers across the globe have braved sub-zero temperatures to catch a glimpse of the lunar phenomenon known as a super blood wolf moon

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Successful Chang’e 4 mission reveals nation’s ambitious attempts to thwart its rivals

As Apollo 11 sailed above the moon, mission control in Houston suggested the astronauts should keep an eye out for a “beautiful Chinese girl called Chang-o”, who, according to legend, had ascended to the moon thousands of years previously, taking along a large rabbit as a companion.

“I’ll look out for the bunny girl then,” Buzz Aldrin joked in reply, shortly ahead of his and Neil Armstrong’s historic touchdown at the lunar surface.

Related: Giant leaf for mankind? China germinates first seed on moon

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Thousands have endured sub-zero temperatures in US and parts of Europe to see rare celestial event

Thousands of stargazers across the northern hemisphere have battled sub-freezing temperatures to catch a glimpse of a lunar extravaganza known as a super blood wolf moon.

The rare celestial event takes places when the moon is positioned slightly closer to the Earth than normal, and appears slightly bigger and brighter than normal – a phenomenon called a super moon. During the total eclipse, the moon was expected to give off a coppery red glow on the lunar surface as it slips into Earth’s shadow, known as a blood moon.

Related: Super blood wolf moon: rare total lunar eclipse to appear in northern hemisphere skies

Thanks Karl for this great pic of the Moon from Florida! #SuperBloodWolfMoon pic.twitter.com/i6z2V40x8N

It’s cold out so I’m waiting til the #SuperBloodWolfMoon is just right before venturing out to watch it. pic.twitter.com/ECzVyNly9F

Related: Clouds put damper on hopes of blood moon sightings in UK

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Taurus is prominent in the southern sky for northern hemisphere starwatchers, with two open clusters and the red giant Aldebaran

The winter skies of January are a great time for northern hemisphere viewers to search out the constellation Taurus, the Bull. The chart shows the view looking south at 20:00 GMT on 21 January 2019. Of all the constellations that humans have named, this is the oldest. It was recognised across the world’s early cultures as a bull. Before that, in prehistoric times, it was possibly depicted on the 17,000-year-old paintings in the Lascaux caves, France. The constellation is not the brightest, but the face of the bull is well marked by a V-shaped collection of stars called the Hyades. The red giant star Aldebaran represents the eye of the bull. It is not a member of the Hyades but sits in front of it. At 65 light years away, it is roughly half way between the Sun and the Hyades. Above the shoulder of the bull is another famous star cluster: the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters. It is a tight knot of stars, and is the only obvious star cluster that can be recognised by the naked eye. In mythology, Taurus is often challenging Orion, the hunter.

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Projects from gravitational wave detection to viewing the Milky Way and generating thermonuclear power march ahead

Cern has announced plans for a Future Circular Collider. The £17.8bn machine would smash particles together inside a 62-mile tunnel – four times the size of the Large Hadron Collider. If funding can be secured, scientists hope the machine would be operational by the 2050s.

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Last blood moon for two years will combine with a supermoon to create unusual celestial phenomenon

An unusual set of circumstances will combine in the early hours of Monday morning in the skies above the northern hemisphere, resulting in a phenomenon called a super blood wolf moon.

A total lunar eclipse will give an apparent reddish colour to the lunar surface – known as a blood moon. At the same time, the moon will be slighty closer to Earth than normal and appear slightly bigger and brighter than usual – a phenomenon called a supermoon.

Related: 2018's blood moon seen around the world – in pictures

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Planet and moon have been hit by more asteroids in the past 290m years than at any time in previous billion

The rate at which asteroids are slamming into Earth has nearly tripled since the dinosaurs first roamed, according to a survey of the scars left behind.

Researchers worked out the rate of asteroid strikes on the moon and the Earth and found that in the past 290m years the number of collisions had increased dramatically.

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Trump likely to present Pentagon findings about changing threat as justification for his planned ‘space force’

Donald Trump will unveil a plan on Thursday for a major expansion in US missile defence that will rely on a new generation of space-based sensors.

The administration’s long-delayed missile defence review, which the president will present at the Pentagon, will call for the expansion of the US network of sensors and interceptors designed to identify and shoot down incoming projectiles from “rogue states” such as Iran and North Korea.

Related: US to begin INF treaty pullout next month after Russia missile talks fail

Related: Space Force: all you need to know about Trump's bold new interstellar plan

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The actor will take the lead in a series he has co-created, following those tasked by the president to develop the space-based initiative

Steve Carell is set to head up a new comedy series for Netflix based on Donald Trump’s space force initiative.

Related: Schitt's Creek: the funniest sitcom you're (probably) not watching

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The Guardian | Space by Hannah Devlin Science Correspondent - 5d ago

Cotton plant shoots and leaves lunar far side after sprouting onboard China’s Chang’e 4 lander

The appearance of a single green leaf hinted at a future in which astronauts would grow their own food in space, potentially setting up residence at outposts on the moon or other planets. Now, barely after it had sprouted, the cotton plant onboard China’s lunar rover has died.

The plant relied on sunlight at the moon’s surface, but as night arrived at the lunar far side and temperatures plunged as low as -170C, its short life came to an end.

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