Month in Space: July 2014

Get long-distance views of the cosmos and our glorious Earth, as well as cosmic perspectives on our planet's tragedies.

The G292.0+1.8 supernova remnant is shown in a newly processed image from the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The picture is among several that were released July 22 to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Chandra's deployment from the space shuttle Columbia. Chandra's "X-ray vision" traces the expanding debris of an exploded star and the shock waves associated with the long-ago blast.

Nasa / X00653

The sun reflects off the water in a picture taken by German astronaut Alexander Gerst from the International Space Station and sent out on his Twitter feed on July 17.

Nasa / X00653

People crowd a bridge that goes over 42nd Street in New York City as they take photos of the "Manhattanhenge" phenomenon on July 11. The spectacle occurs twice a year, when the setting sun lines up precisely with the gap between Manhattan's skyscrapers.

Carlo Allegri / X02452

Chinese astronomers and others around the world witnessed the creation of the Crab Nebula by a supernova explosion in the year 1054. This 15th-anniversary image from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, released July 22, shows a rapidly rotating neutron star spewing out a blizzard of high-energy particles from the heart of the Crab Nebula. Lower-energy X-rays are shown in red, medium energy in green, and high energy in blue.

One of the more spectacular examples of the southern lights was photographed from the International Space Station on July 15. This image was captured as the orbital outpost flew over a part of the world south of Australia. Sections of the space station's solar arrays are visible at right.

An employee of Russia's Star City cosmonaut training center hangs three spacesuits on a clothesline to dry in a wooded area near Noginsk on July 2. The suits belong to Russia's Anatoly Ivanishin, NASA's Kathleen Rubins and Japan's Takuya Onishi, who are being trained for a future mission to the International Space Station. This particular training exercise was intended to simulate a water landing in a Soyuz space capsule.

Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP

This wide-field image, released on July 22, shows the elliptical galaxy Centaurus A. The picture combines data from the Hubble Space Telescope, the Digitized Sky Survey 2 and the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope. Astronomers have found that Centaurus A's dim halo of stars reaches much farther than expected, extending across 4 degrees in the sky. That's equivalent to eight times the apparent width of the moon.

- / AFP

Bright young stars huddle together against a backdrop of dust and glowing gas, in a picture released by the European Southern Observatory on July 23. The star cluster, known as NGC 3293, was spotted using the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile.

Eso / G. Beccari / Handout / European Southern Observatory

A full moon rises over houses in the Spanish city of Olvera on July 12. This was the first of three summertime full moons that are bigger and brighter than average, arguably earning them the "Supermoon" label.

Jon Nazca / X02457

A long-exposure photo captures the moment on June 30 when a launch gantry at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California was rolled back to reveal a Delta 2 rocket with NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 satellite onboard. OCO-2 was launched on July 2 and will measure the global distribution of carbon dioxide. Scientists hope the mission will provide new insights into the dynamics of climate change.

Bill Ingalls/nasa / Getty Images North America

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman tweeted this photo from the International Space Station on July 24, saying, "The sun, surrounded by blackness, is too intense to take even a tiny glimpse at with your eyes."

Reid Wiseman

Saturn's hexagon-shaped north polar vortex shows up prominently in this picture, taken by the Cassini orbiter on April 2 and unveiled to the public on July 7. The planet's rings loom in the background, cut off on the left by Saturn's shadow.

Nasa/jpl-caltech/space Science I / NASA / JPL-Caltech

The windswept valleys of North Africa take on the appearance of abstract art in an image captured by German astronaut Alexander Gerst from the International Space Station. Gerst posted the picture to his Twitter account (@Astro_Alex) on July 6.

Alexander Gerst / Nasa / Handout / NASA

A police officer stands guard in front of a lifesize model of Soviet-made Buran space orbiter, which was moved on July 5 through the streets of Moscow from Gorky Park to the All-Russia Exhibition Center (known by the Russian acronym VDNKh). This model was used for tests during the Buran shuttle program. The actual Buran was destroyed during a storm at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in 2002. "Buran" is the Russian word for blizzard.

Maxim Shemetov / X90156

SpaceShipTwo's mothership, the twin-fuselage WhiteKnightTwo airplane, returned to flight on June 30 after a timeout for inspections at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California — marking a transition in Virgin Galactic's effort to bring paying passengers to the edge of outer space.

German astronaut Alexander Gerst posted this image of Gaza and Israel as seen from the International Space Station on Twitter on July 23. "My saddest photo yet," Gerst wrote. "From ISS we can actually see explosions and rockets flying over Gaza and Israel."

Alexander Gerst

Looking out the window of the International Space Station in early July, astronauts spotted a sprawling mass of clouds. The clouds were just beginning to take shape as the first tropical storm of the 2014 season built over the Atlantic Ocean. Tropical Storm Arthur formed off southern Florida on July 1. By the morning of July 2, when this photo was taken with a wide-angle lens, the storm was moving north along the Florida coast. Surrounded by bright green waters, the Bahamas are south of the storm in the lower right corner of the photo. The U.S. coastline stretches along the left side of the photo.

NGC 4258 is a spiral galaxy well-known to astronomers for having two anomalous arms that glow in X-ray, optical and radio light. Rather than being aligned with the plane of the galaxy, they intersect with it. This composite image of NGC 4258, released July 2, shows the galaxy in X-rays from the Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue), radio waves from the Jansky Very Large Array (purple), optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope (yellow and blue) and infrared with the Spitzer Space Telescoe (red). Researchers are using all of these telescopes to better understand how the supermassive black hole is affecting the galaxy and its anomalous arms.

Chandra X-ray Observatory Center / Chandra X-ray Observatory

Visitors to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum walk past a depiction of space exploration by artist Robert T. McCall, titled "The Space Mural: A Cosmic View," on July 20, the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing.

See last month's space slideshow

Pablo Martinez Monsivais