Month in Space: November 2015

See dazzling astronaut views, Saturn's moons, a spacewalk and more.

. Japan's H-2A rocket lifts off from the launch pad at the Tanegashima Space Center on Japan's southern island of Tanegashgima on Nov. 24. The Japanese-made H-2A rocket was carrying a Canadian telecommunications satellite, its first commercial payload.

Jiji Press / AFP - Getty Images

. NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren tweeted this image of Earth from the International Space Station with the caption, "A thirsty landscape." Lindgren has been tweeting images showing water's effects on the landscape with the hashtag #StoryOfWater.

Kjell Lindgren / NASA

. "For an instant before sunrise, the space station glows orange," tweeted astronaut Scott Kelly on Nov. 5.

Kelly is in the middle of an unprecedented yearlong stay on the International Space Station. He is to remain on the orbiting lab until March 2016.

Scott Kelly / NASA

. A supermassive black hole is captured in action in this image released on Nov. 16 that combines images from the Hubble Space Telescope and a radio telescope.

The yellow-hued object at the center of the frame is an elliptical galaxy known as Hercules A, seen by the Earth-orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. In normal light, an observer would only see this object floating in the inky blackness of space.

However, view Hercules A with a radio telescope, and the entire region is completely transformed. Stunning red and pink jets of material can be seen billowing outwards from the galaxy. They are shown here as seen by the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array radio observatory in New Mexico.

NASA / ESA / Hubble Heritage Team

. NASA's WB-57 aircraft fly in formation over Houston on Nov. 19.

The aircraft are part of NASA's high-altitude research program.

Robert Markowitz / NASA

. A galaxy has merged with another galaxy, leaving a fine mist, made of millions of stars, spewing from it in long trails, in this Hubble Space Telescope image released on Nov. 25. Despite the apparent chaos, this snapshot of the gravitational tango was captured towards the event's conclusion.

This galaxy is heading into old age with its star-forming days coming to an end. The various clouds of gas within the two galaxies were so disturbed by the event that they collapsed, triggering an eruption of star formation. This activity exhausted the vast majority of the galactic gas, leaving the galaxy sterile and unable to produce new stars. As the violence continues to subside, the newly formed galaxy's population of stars will redden with age and eventually begin to drop off one by one.

NASA / ESA / Hubble via AFP - Getty Images

. The Expedition 45 crew of the International Space Station gathers inside the Destiny laboratory to celebrate the 15th anniversary of continuous human presence aboard the orbiting lab on Nov. 2.

From left, front row, are Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui, and NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren. In the back are Russian cosmonauts Sergey Volkov, Oleg Kononenko and Mikhail Kornienko.

Yui holds the mission patch for Expedition 1 which arrived at the station on Nov. 2, 2000.


. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly works outside the International Space Station during a spacewalk on Nov. 6. Kelly and fellow NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren restored the port truss (P6) ammonia cooling system to its original configuration and returned ammonia to the desired levels in both the prime and back-up systems. The spacewalk lasted for seven hours and 48 minutes.


. Enceladus peeks out from behind another of Saturn's moons, Dione, in an image captured by Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 8 and released on Nov. 17.

Although the moons are composed of nearly the same materials, Enceladus has a considerably higher reflectivity than Dione and as a result, it appears brighter against the dark night sky. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 52,000 miles from Dione.

The Cassini mission has been exploring Saturn and its moons since 2004.

NASA / JPL - Caltech via Reuters

. The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, illuminate the night sky on Nov. 12, near the town of Kirkenes in northern Norway.

Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP - Getty Images

. The Ariane 5 rocket lifts off from the Ariane Launchpad Area at the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on Nov. 10. The rocket successfully launched a pair of communications satellites.

Jody Amiet / AFP - Getty Images

. Tropical Storm Kate churns in the Atlantic Ocean off the East Coast of the United States on Nov. 10 in this satellite photo.

- / EUMETSAT via AFP - Getty Images

. Polina Kuznetsova exits a mock spaceship after an eight-day simulated flight to the moon in Moscow on Nov. 6. The six-woman crew climbed into a grounded space capsule last week to imitate a lunar flight and test the effects of confinement and stress that come with space travel.

Russia has conducted similar simulations in the past, but this was the first all-female crew.

Pavel Golovkin / AP

. "Hard not to feel gratitude with a world view like this," tweeted astronaut Scott Kelly on Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

Month in Space: October 2015