Month in Space: September 2014
Get in on some stunning hookups with the International Space Station, plus other cosmic highlights from September 2014.
An Orthodox priest conducts a blessing in front of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft standing on its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sept. 24. The Soyuz launched three new crew members to the International Space Station.
NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore waves as he walks with Russian cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and Elena Serova at the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Sept. 25. The three spacefliers were heading for the Soyuz spacecraft that would take them to the International Space Station.
A Russian Soyuz rocket blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan early Sept. 26, carrying a new crew to the International Space Station.
The destructive results of a powerful supernova explosion reveal themselves in a delicate tapestry of X-ray light, as seen in this image from NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton, released on Sept. 10.
The image shows the remains of a supernova that would have been witnessed on Earth about 3,700 years ago. The remnant is called Puppis A. It's about 7,000 light-years away and about 10 light-years across.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket leaves a contrail after lifting off from its launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Sept. 21. The Falcon sent SpaceX's robotic Dragon cargo craft to the International Space Station with 2.5 tons of supplies and experiments, including a 3-D printer and a habitat with lab mice.
SpaceX's Dragon cargo ship is barely visible at center as it approaches the International Space Station on Sept. 23.
SpaceX's Dragon cargo ship arrives at the International Space Station on Sept. 23. After a two-day chase, the Dragon spacecraft caught up to the orbiting laboratory, and German astronaut Alexander Gerst used the space station's robotic arm to grab the capsule with help from NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman. "Hundreds of hours of training for one moment," Gerst said on the Flickr webpage where he posted this photo.
Astrophotographer Henri Luoma captured the aurora borealis filling the sky over a cottage in Finland on Sept. 12. The sun shot out a double burst of electrically charged particles — known as coronal mass ejections, or CMEs — earlier in the week, and the geomagnetic activity produced fantastic northern lights.
• Gallery:Solar Storms Ignite Awesome Auroras
A sandstorm rages over the Sahara Desert in this image, tweeted on Sept. 8 by German astronaut Alexander Gerst aboard the International Space Station.
A starry sky is seen from the International Space Station on Sept. 13. The white panel at left, belonging to the European ATV-5 spacecraft that is docked to the orbital outpost, obstructs the view of the constellation Scorpius. Among the stars visible in this picture are Antares and a pair of stars that comprise Shaula, the tip of the celestial scorpion's tail. The open cluster close to Shaula is M7, also known as the Ptolemy Cluster. Some of the space station's solar panels fill out the bottom right corner of the picture.
Ground support personnel surround the site in a remote area of Kazakhstan where a Soyuz capsule landed with NASA astronaut Steve Swanson and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev on Sept. 11. The trio returned to Earth after spending more than five months aboard the International Space Station.
Russian cosmonaut Elena Serova performs test procedures inside a Soyuz spacecraft on Sept. 13 at Russia's Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Serova is the first Russian woman to live aboard the International Space Station.
British astronaut Timothy Peake wears a training version of his spacesuit as he is submerged in the waters of the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory near NASA's Johnson Space Center in Texas. Peake is scheduled to be part of a crew heading for the International Space Station in late 2015.
This Sept. 24 image from the Curiosity rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager shows a sample-collection hole that was drilled into a target called Confidence Hills, on the Pahrump Hills outcrop at the base of Mount Sharp on Mars. The hole is 0.63 inches (1.6 centimeters) wide and about 2.6 inches (6.7 centimeters) deep.
The densely packed lanes of the Milky Way galaxy gleam in the sky above the Northern Cape of South Africa on Sept. 25.
This picture, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 and released on Sept. 15, shows a galaxy known as NGC 6872 in the constellation of Pavo (The Peacock). Its unusual shape is caused by its interactions with the smaller galaxy that can be seen just above NGC 6872, called IC 4970. They both lie roughly 300 million light-years away from Earth.
A couple sits on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River as the full moon rises into the skies above Kansas City, Missouri, on Sept. 8. The night's full moon, also known as a Harvest Moon, was the third and final "supermoon" of the summer. The phenomenon, which scientists call a "perigee moon," occurs when the moon is relatively close to Earth during its full phase. That makes the moon look larger and brighter than average.
•See last month's space slideshow