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Betelgeuse: Nearby ‘supernova’ star’s dimming explained

Betelgeuse: Nearby ‘supernova’ star’s dimming explained

Science
Astronomers say big cool patches on a "supergiant" star close to Earth were behind its surprise dimming last year.Red giant stars like Betelgeuse frequently undergo changes in brightness, but the drop to 40% of its normal value between October 2019 and April 2020 surprised astronomers.Researchers now say this was caused by gigantic cool areas similar to the sunspots seen on our own parent star.There had been speculation that Betelgeuse was about to go supernova.But the star instead began to recover and by May 2020 it was back at its original brightness.Betelgeuse, which is about 500 light-years from Earth, is reaching the end of its life. But it's not known precisely when it will explode; it could take as long as hundreds of thou...
Coronavirus: Wages, sick pay and time off explained

Coronavirus: Wages, sick pay and time off explained

Business
Most of the wages of employees who are not working and otherwise would have lost their jobs, are being covered by the government.The Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the "unprecedented" package of measures would see companies receive grants to pay their workers 80% of their salaries - up to a limit of £2,500 a month.Employers have been urged not to cut jobs. Benefits payments are also to be increased. The intervention comes after people were told to work from home if they can, as part of stringent measures to combat the spread of coronavirus.With schools shutting, parents are having to work more flexibly, and self-isolation puts more pressure on businesses who have staff coming in.Sick pay rules have been amended, and the self-employed will see their tax liabi
Avengers Endgame: The Marvel Cinematic Universe explained

Avengers Endgame: The Marvel Cinematic Universe explained

Entertainment
SPOILER ALERT! This article contains details of the plots of some Marvel films, including recent releases. Marvel sequel Avengers: Endgame hits UK cinemas on 25 April and is widely expected to be the biggest release of 2019.The film will be the 22nd entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which began with 2008's Iron Man.If you want to watch Endgame, but feel daunted by the sheer size of the MCU, never fear! Here's everything you need to know. What is the Marvel Cinematic Universe?The Marvel Cinematic Universe - or MCU for short - is the shared place where all 22 films featuring the comic book characters are set.Each tells its own distinct story but also connects with other films in the MCU, to te...