Month in Space: August 2014

See a spacewalker at work, glorious views of Earth and other outer-space highlights from August 2014.

A midlevel solar flare erupts from the left side of the sun's disk on Aug. 24, in an extreme ultraviolet image captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. Solar flares can disrupt communications and power grids, but this M5 flare was not directed at Earth.

Nasa / X00653

NASA astronaut Steve Swanson captured this dramatic image of swirling auroral displays from aboard the International Space Station. The station's robotic arm can be seen folded at the top of the frame. The picture was posted on Twitter on Aug. 27.

Steve Swanson

Perseid meteors and stars light up the night sky above Spain's Sierra Norte de Madrid mountains in this multiple-exposure image from the early hours of Aug. 12. The Perseids occur every August when Earth passes through the debris and dust left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle.

Dani Pozo / AFP

A cloud floats over South America's Andes Mountains in an image tweeted by German astronaut Alexander Gerst from the International Space Station on Aug. 3.

Alexander Gerst

The supermoon hangs on the horizon at the Astro-Physical Institute of the Canaries in Tenerife, Canary Islands, on Aug. 10. This was the closest that a full moon would get to Earth during 2014, making for the biggest and brightest supermoon of the year.

Daniel Lopez / Iac / Handout / EFE / IAC

The International Space Station's robotic arm prepares to release Orbital Sciences Corp.'s Cygnus cargo craft on Aug. 15, after a monthlong visit to the orbital outpost. It took weeks to unload 1.5 tons of cargo from the Cygnus and fill it back up with trash for disposal.

Two days after it was released from the International Space Station, the robotic Cygnus cargo spaceship breaks up in Earth's atmosphere on Aug. 17. One of the astronauts aboard the space station snapped a picture of the craft's fiery destruction. Cygnus capsules are not built to return to Earth. Instead, they are meant to burn up during re-entry.

The destructive results of a mighty supernova explosion reveal themselves in a delicate blend of infrared and X-ray light, as seen in this image released Aug. 24. The picture combines data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton. The bubbly cloud is an irregular shock wave, generated by a supernova that would have been witnessed on Earth 3,700 years ago. The supernova remnant, called Puppis A, is about 7,000 light-years away.

Nasa/esa/jpl-caltech/gsfc/iafe / NASA/ESA/JPL-Caltech/GSFC/IAFE

Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov gives a wave as he works outside the International Space Station on Aug. 18. During the five-hour, 11-minute spacewalk, Skvortsov and his Russian crewmate, Oleg Artemyev, deployed a small science satellite and swapped out experimental packages on the station's exterior.

Madrid glows brightly at top center in this shot of the Iberian Peninsula, as seen from the International Space Station on the evening of July 26. The clarity of the night image is possible thanks to the European Space Agency's NightPod, installed on the station in 2012. The device incorporates a motorized tripod that compensates for Earth's motion and the station's orbital speed of 17,500 mph.

Nasa / X00653

A Soyuz rocket lifts off from the European Space Agency's launch facility at Kourou in French Guiana on Aug. 22. The rocket sent two of Europe's Galileo GPS satellites into space - but unfortunately, a launch malfunction put the satellites into the wrong orbits.

Jm Guillon / Esa / Handout / ESA

Two dramatic star formation regions in the southern Milky Way are seen in this Aug. 18 photo, taken by the European Southern Observatory's Wide Field Imager at the La Silla Observatory in Chile. The region on the left is dominated by the star cluster NGC 3603, located about 20,000 light-years away in the Carina-Sagittarius spiral arm of the Milky Way. The region on the right is a collection of glowing gas clouds known as NGC 3576, which lies only about half as far from Earth.

G. Beccari / AFP

Fireworks streak past the supermoon outside the town of Mosta in central Malta on Aug. 10. The pyrotechnics were set off to celebrate the feast of a patron saint, while the supermoon was the biggest and brightest full moon of the year.

Darrin Zammit Lupi / X01097

The galaxy Messier 33, often called the Triangulum Galaxy, glitters in an Aug. 6 image from the European Southern Observatory's Paranal Observatory in Chile. The spiral galaxy is packed with bright star clusters and clouds of gas and dust. This picture is among the most detailed wide-field views of the Triangulum Galaxy ever taken.

Eso / Handout / EFE/ESO

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko gets its close-up in a photo taken by the European Space Agency's Rosetta probe on Aug. 3. Rosetta became the first spacecraft to rendezvous with a comet and will follow Churyumov-Gerasimenko on its journey around the sun.

Handout / Getty Images North America

Stargazers with the Lille Region Astronomical Society point their telescopes into the sky on Aug. 2 in Villeneuve-d'Ascq in northern France as part of the 24th "Night of the Stars" event.

See last month's space slideshow

Philippe Huguen / AFP