Month in Space: February 2014

Feast your eyes on an astronaut's-eye view of the Maldive Islands, a rover's-eye view of Mars and other cosmic highlights from February 2014.

Russian cosmonaut Maxim Suraev, German astronaut Alexander Gerst and NASA astronaut Gregory Wiseman wear gas masks during a preflight training session at Russia's Star City cosmonaut center on Feb. 11. The masks would be worn aboard the International Space Station in the event of an emergency. The three spacefliers are due to head for the station in May.

- / AFP

North Korea's capital, Pyongyang, is a bright spot surrounded by darkness in the center of an image taken by astronauts on the International Space Station on Jan. 30 and released on Feb. 26. South Korea is brightly lit at lower right, and China is at the upper left. Annual per-capita power consumption in South Korea is 10,162 kilowatt-hours, vastly more than North Korea's 739 kilowatt-hours, according to the World Bank.

Nasa Image Science And Analysis / NASA Image Science and Analysis

Images from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory show the first moments of an X-class solar flare on Feb. 24 in different wavelengths. Hot solar material can be seen hovering above the active region in the sun's atmosphere, the corona. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation, appearing as giant flashes of light in the SDO images.

Nasa / X00653

The many branches of Kumbunbur Creek in Australia's Northern Territory are seen in this false-color satellite image released by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute on Feb. 25. The green areas are the waterways of runoff that flow into the Timor Sea. Vegetation appears bright red in this color-coded image, which was captured by the Kompsat-2 satellite on Sept. 20, 2011.

Esa/kari / ESA/KARI

The moon passes in front of Saturn in a still from a video captured by Colin Legg in Perth, Australia, on Feb. 22. This event is known by astronomers as an occultation.

• Watch the full video on Vimeo

A Russian-built Proton-M rocket, carrying a Briz-M upper stage and the Turksat 4A communications satellite, is mounted at a launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Feb. 11. The Turkish satellite was successfully launched into orbit on Feb. 14.

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A reddish glow surrounds a star known as Kappa Cassiopeiae, or HD 2905, in a Feb. 20 image captured by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The star is a massive, hot supergiant moving at around 2.5 million mph relative to its neighbors. The red glow is material in its path, called a bow shock, which can often be seen in front of the fastest, most massive stars in the galaxy. Bow shocks form where the magnetic fields and winds of particles flowing off a star collide with diffuse interstellar gas and dust.

Nasa/jpl-caltech / NASA

An H-2A rocket lifts off from Japan's Tanegashima Space Center on Feb. 28, carrying NASA's newest weather satellite into orbit for a mission to observe rainfall and snowfall around the globe in unprecedented detail. The Global Precipitation Measurement Core Observatory is a joint effort between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Nasa/bill Ingalls / (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

A flock of starlings passes by a full moon near the village of Tidhar in southern Israel on Feb. 13.

Abir Sultan / EPA

The aurora borealis, or northern lights, fill the sky behind a caribou in Norway on Feb. 19.

• See more of Ole Salomonsen's auroral displays on the Arctic Light Photo Facebook page.

Ole Salomonesn

Wheel tracks stretch behind NASA's Curiosity rover in a Feb. 10 photo from Mars, taken by the rover's navigation camera. An opening in the terrain known as Dingo Gap can be seen in the background to the right. Curiosity drove through Dingo Gap on its way to a 3-mile-high mountain called Aeolis Mons or Mount Sharp.

Nasa / Jpl-caltech / Handout / NASA / JPL-CALTECH

Two small satellites are ejected into orbit from a launcher that's attached to the robotic arm on the International Space Station's Kibo laboratory module on Feb. 11. More than two dozen such satellites were being deployed for Planet Labs, a commercial Earth-imaging venture. The station's solar panels, Earth's horizon and the blackness of space provide the backdrop for the mini-satellite launch.

Nasa / X00653

A camel sits near a Russian-built Proton-M rocket carrying the Turksat 4A communications satellite before blastoff at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Feb. 14.

Stringer / AFP

A crescent moon rises above Earth's atmosphere on Jan. 29, in a photo taken from the International Space Station and released by NASA on Feb. 7. Distinct colors are visible because the dominant gases and particles in each layer of the atmosphere act as prisms, filtering out particular colors of light.

Nasa / NASA

The wide-angle camera on NASA's Cassini spacecraft captured this view of Saturn from a distance of approximately 1.6 million miles. Saturn's famous hexagon-shaped cloud pattern can be seen at the north pole. The picture was assembled from data obtained on Nov. 23, 2013, and released on Feb. 3, 2014.

Nasa / X00653

NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio captured this view of the Maldive Islands in the Indian Ocean from the perch of the International Space Station. Mastracchio posted the image on Twitter on Feb. 10 and noted that "you can see the boats moving back and forth."


A view of the full moon is distorted by heat from the Olympic flame at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, on Feb. 13.

See last month's space slideshow

Hannibal Hanschke / EPA