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Month in Space: November 2014
See a cosmic lighthouse, a tragic crash, a triumphant landing and other stellar images from November 2014.
Orbital Sciences Corp.'s Antares rocket falls back to the ground after blowing up, seconds after liftoff on Oct. 28 from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia. Footage from the remote camera had been impounded for use in the accident investigation and was released to photographers only in late November.
NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore captured this picture of the Red Sea from the International Space Station on Nov. 8, with docked Russian spacecraft in the foreground.
Jupiter's icy moon, Europa, looms large in this reprocessed image released by NASA on Nov. 21. The original observations were collected by the Galileo spacecraft, which explored Jupiter and its moons from orbit in the 1990s. NASA officials reprocessed Galileo's data using modern imaging techniques. Europa's mineral-laced ice is thought to cover a deep ocean of water that some scientists suspect could harbor life.
The European Space Agency's Philae lander sent back its first image on Nov. 13 after safely landing on the surface of a comet, 317 million miles from Earth. One of the lander's three feet can be seen at lower left.
• Gallery: Probe Relays Photos from Comet
French President Francois Hollande, second from left, and former French astronaut Claudie Haignere wear 3-D glasses to view the first results of the Rosetta mission on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at the Cite des Sciences in Paris on Nov. 12. Rosetta's Philae probe made the first-ever landing on a comet in a quest to explore the origins of the solar system, marking the high point of a $1.3 billion, 10-year mission.
German astronaut Alexander Gerst waves from the cupola of the International Space Station. He tweeted out this photo on Nov. 9, before returning to Earth. "Thanks to all of you for flying to space with me, it's been a blast," Gerst wrote. "I am glad we did this together!"
Three spacefliers rest in chairs after descending from the International Space Station in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft and landing safely in the steppes of northern Kazakhstan on Nov. 10. From left are Germany's Alexander Gerst, Russia's Maxim Surayev and NASA's Reid Wiseman. Returning space station residents are traditionally carried to chairs when they land, to ease their adjustment to Earth's gravity after spending months in zero-G.
This colorful image shows a cosmic lighthouse known as the Egg Nebula, which lies about 3,000 light-years from Earth. The image, which was taken with the Hubble Space Telescope and released on Nov. 24, captures a brief but dramatic phase in the life of a sunlike star.
The Egg Nebula, also known as RAFGL 2688, is a "preplanetary nebula." These objects flare up when a dying star's hot remains briefly illuminate the cloud of gas and dust that surrounds the star.
Sheriff's deputies stand watch over a piece of debris at the crash site of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo rocket plane near Cantil, California, on Nov. 1. National Transportation Safety Board investigators are working to determining the cause of the Oct. 31 in-flight breakup, which killed one of the passenger craft's test pilots and injured the other.
A picture released by the European Southern Observatory on Nov. 24 shows the bright star cluster NGC 3532, as seen by the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile. Some of the stars still shine with a hot bluish color, but many of the more massive ones have become red giants and glow with a rich orange hue.
NASA astronaut Terry Virts, Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov and Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti give their empty spacesuits a playful piggyback ride at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Nov. 12. The crew rode a Russian Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station on Nov. 24 to begin a months-long tour of duty in orbit.
A Russian Soyuz rocket blasts off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan before dawn on Nov. 24, carrying the newest crew members of the International Space Station. The freshly arrived trio joined three other spacefliers who have been living aboard the station for weeks.
A helicopter hovers during preparations for picking up China's Chang'e 5-T1 test capsule after it landed in Siziwang Banner in Inner Mongolia on Nov. 1. The uncrewed capsule was sent around the moon and back as a test for a future sample return mission.
A midlevel solar flare erupts from an active region of the sun on Nov. 5. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the image in extreme ultraviolet light that was colorized in red and gold.
Solar flares send out powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to affect human health. But if they're intense enough, such bursts can disturb GPS and communication signals.
• Gallery: Best Space Pictures From October 2014
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