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Editor's choice

Jan 19, 2014

A special free-to-read digital edition containing 10 of our very best feature articles on the science and applications of light

In depth: Astronomy, astrophysics & cosmology

Decoding the quantum horizon

Patrick Hayden and Robert Myers describe how “qubits” may hold the key to quantum gravity

Galaxies and auroras and planets, oh my!

The coffee-table book of all the winning and shortlisted images in the 2016 Astronomy Photographer of the Year award is a sight to behold, says Tushna Commissariat

Tracing the path towards totality

Tyler Nordgren’s book on the history, science and beauty of a total solar eclipse flows between personal experiences and scientific facts, writes Shadia Habbal

Life as we do and don't know it

Looking at everything from extremophiles on Earth to galactic habitability zones, this book on astrobiology covers all the basics, says Dimitra Atri

Between the lines: Christmas special

An eclectic mix of popular-science books, from everyday physics to loop quantum gravity to collider cartoons, reviewed by Matin Durrani, Kate Gardner, Hamish Johnston, Margaret Harris and Louise Mayor

Is the universe a sponge?

J Richard Gott’s book on the large-scale topology of the universe goes beyond a “Cosmology 101” pseudo-history, writes Martin Bucher

Finding the right boundaries

Roger Penrose’s book on “fashion, faith and fantasy” in physics asks excellent questions, but reviewer Chanda Prescod-Weinstein finds some of the answers wanting

The descent of mass

Jon Cartwright talks to the physicists who are hoping to find a flaw in the equivalence principle

From weapons to white dwarfs

Edwin Cartlidge examines “academic access” programmes at military research centres

Adventures in search of auroras

This fascinating account of the Northern Lights taught reviewer (and space plasma physicist) Colin Forsyth a thing or two about aurora science

A billion pixels, a billion stars

Gerry Gilmore and Floor van Leeuwen explain how the precise data from the Gaia mission will revolutionize our view of the galaxy

Thinking big thoughts

Vlatko Vedral is wowed by cosmologist Sean Carroll’s paean to "poetic naturalism" and the ability of science to bring meaning to the world

Another giant leap

The story of a group of women who worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the early days of rocketry draws both praise and criticism from Lisa Ruth Rand

Web life: Universe Awareness

The Universe Awareness project aims to bring the beauty and grandeur of the cosmos into the classroom for children aged four to 10

See like a solar system

Robert P Crease discusses what the science of the solar system teaches us about perception