The 52 weeks project challenged Guardian readers to take one picture a week to reflect the news or something in their lives. More than 800 people took part via Flickr and the result is a whistlestop tour through 2012 including the Queen’s diamond jubilee, the Olympics and the changeable British weather, as well as birthdays, engagements and a year full of memories.

Photograph: Gavin Wray.

“And I remember in that moment looking down from the edge of the stage, out at all the bright faces and euphoria and glee, and feeling my chest swell with a brief, sweet gulp of long-lost joy.”
Laura Barton & Guardian G2 writers on their favourite moments of 2012 

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As the village bells struck noon, the moment at which the Mayans had supposedly predicted the world would end, Sylvain Durif was calmly playing the panpipes for a vast crowd of jostling camera crews. “I am Oriana, I embody the energy of cosmic Christ,” he said. “When I was five I was abducted by a flying saucer belonging to the Virgin Mary. I’m here to get my message to the world, that there will be a regeneration.”

Want to speak to Alan Rusbridger, discuss politics with Polly Toynbee, family life with Lucy Mangan, football with Richard Williams or analyse films with Peter Bradshaw?

On Saturday 22 December Guardian and Observer writers and editors will be answering the phones from 10am to 6pm to chat and take credit card donations for this year’s Christmas charity appeal.

Find out more about the Christmas appeal telethon here and read more about the eight charities we are raising money for that help transform disabled people’s lives.

In 2012 the top UK search terms included Whitney Houston, Kate Middleton, Gangnam Style and April Jones, the Welsh five-year-old who went missing in October.

From Euro 2012 to Gangnam Style: find out what Britons Googled most this year

Kate Middleton … No 2 ‘trending’ person in the world. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

It was the year of the Olympics, the omnishambles, the Higgs boson and the Facebook flotation. In American and Russian elections voters stuck with the faces they knew, while France and China ushered in a new slate of leaders. The eurozone teetered on another brink, while the southern hemisphere powered ahead. But who were the people that shaped 2012? Guardian editors and staff nominate their pick for Person of the Year 2012.

Top left to right: Serena Williams, Mario Draghi, Danny Boyle, Malala Yousafzai, Fabiola Gianotti
Bottom: Fabiola Gianotti, Bill McKibben, Clare Balding, Bradley Wiggins

Obama celebrated his election victory this week by immediately tweeting an emotional photograph of him and his wife, Michelle, embracing, and it has become the most re-tweeted picture in history. That’s partly because it captures his humanity and the sincerity of his love for his family, his wife and daughters, to whom he paid lavish tribute in his eloquent victor’s speech.

It also indicates the nature of his support: younger people who tweet, as opposed to older folk who go hunting. Obama is on the right side of history, and that includes the technological future. In this election, the America of Steve Jobs defeated that of Donald Trump.

- Jonathan Jones on the most retweeted moment in history

Wednesday’s Guardian front page: Obama wins four more years as America delivers decisive verdict

Find more of our US election reaction coverage here:

  • Share your reaction to the outcome with us here, here are the results so far: