Another year has passed by, and what a year it has been. It has been a year of highs and lows, but most important a year of great progress (and one rather obvious setbacks) for the scientific community.

We began the year with a lot of interesting rumors. As 2016 began, the scientific community was quietly talking about leaked claims that the LIGO experiment had detected gravitational waves after thirty years of searching. These rumors were to be confirmed one month later, with the formal announcement that there was a positive signal for a gravitational wave from a dramatic high energy astrophysical event – specifically a black hole merger that occurred sometime in the distant past. This adds further weight to the confirmations of the predictions of the general theory of relativity (and perfectly timed for just after the centenary of Einstein and Hilbert's papers announcing the general theory of relativity), and also opens up an interesting new method of testing alternative theories of gravity, both classical and quantum gravitational. It is almost certain that this discovery will lead to a Nobel prize in the coming years.

The other rumor that started the year had much less weight to it. Based on the behaviour of different objects at the edge of our solar system, astronomers started to speculate about the existence of another planet beyond Pluto. Unfortunately a year later all we have is speculation, as there has still been no observations or confirmations of this mysterious object.

It wasn't all bad news for the astronomy community this year, as they did discover a number of interesting new objects away from our local neighbourhood. In February radio astronomers were able to study a previously obscured region of the Great Attractor, and discovered a collection of 900 new galaxies that had never been observed before. That was followed in May with the Kepler space probe announcing the discovery of several new exoplanets, despite having technical troubles of its own.

And in our own Solar System, the world watched with rapt attention as the Rosetta probe and Philae lander fought to finish their mission after a rough start last year. However in May they were able to report the detection of amino acids on the comet, adding weight to the theories that life could exist elsewhere in the galaxy and may have even been brought to Earth by a similar comet. Finally in September, the Rosetta probe was deliberately crashed into the surface of comet 67P to end the mission and give one last burst of data from the impact. But in June the Juno mission finally arrived at Jupiter after a five year journey and began its own mission to study the largest of the planets, which should hopefully give astronomers something new to study.

However this year did see some great events for the amateur astronomers. In January we were treated to a rare five planet alignment, which brought many out into the cold, dark winter nights to see this once-in-a-decade event. That was followed through the spring with great opportunities to view Jupiter and Saturn, and then in May we saw Mercury transit across the Sun.

In the particle physics community the discoveries were less news worthy this year, but still fascinating. In July the LUX experiment completed its run, and had to report that they could find no evidence of dark matter, while a team from the University of Amsterdam announced in December that dark matter does not interact with photons in the cosmic microwave background. These two experiments don't exclude the existence of dark matter (as some disreputable news agencies were claiming), but it does further restrict the properties that it can posess. Then in August a team from the Large Hadron Collider had to admit that the exciting discovery of 2015, the new particle resonance that could not be explained in the Standard Model, was in fact just a statistical anomaly and did not actually exist. Suddenly thousands of research papers were rendered obsolete, as this amazing discovery was in fact a meaningless blip.

So that was the year that was. There were highs and lows, and a lot of in between events. Overall though, we saw science move forward and progress. And now we get to start a new year, with new experiments and new theories.

May we all meet again one year from now, and look back on another exciting year in science!