Month in Space: July 2013

Savor the beauties of a dying star, our lively planet and other cosmic highlights from July 2013.

Italian spacewalker Luca Parmitano works outside the International Space Station while anchored to the station's robotic arm on July 9. A follow-up spacewalk on July 16 had to be cut short, just an hour and a half into its scheduled six-hour duration, when water accumulated inside Parmitano's helmet. Afterward, Parmitano acknowledged that the situation was potentially perilous, and NASA launched an investigation.

The Cassini spacecraft's wide-angle camera captures Saturn's rings as well as Earth and the moon in the same frame on July 19. Earth appears as a blue dot at right, beneath the rings. In the full-resolution view, the moon can be seen as a fainter protusion off its right side.

Nasa / X00653

Visitors walk past a display of Earth as it appears in space at Japan's National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo on July 3. Called the Geo-Cosmos, the globe is covered with high-resolution LED panels that display images from weather satellites

Kimimasa Mayama / EPA

When a star like our sun uses up all of the hydrogen in its core, it becomes what is called a "planetary nebula." The star sheds its outer layers of gas, leaving behind a hot core. This composite image of NGC 2392 includes data from NASA's Chandra Space Telescope, showing the location of million-degree gas near the center of the planetary nebula in pink. Readings from the Hubble Space Telescope - colored red, green, and blue - show the intricate pattern of the outer layers of the star that have been ejected.

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

Russia's unmanned Progress M-20M cargo craft arrives at the International Space Station on July 27 after a flawless four-orbit trip from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

"Grapefruit never smelled so good! Fresh fruit arrived on the Progress cargo vehicle yesterday," NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg wrote in a Facebook post about this picture from July 28. Nyberg and other spacefliers on the International Space Station treasure fresh fruit and other goodies sent from Earth.

A striking cosmic whirl is at the center of galaxy NGC 524, as seen in this Hubble Space Telescope image released on July 22. This galaxy is located in the constellation of Pisces, some 90 million light-years from Earth. NGC 524 is a lenticular galaxy. Such galaxies are believed to be an intermediate state in galactic evolution - they are neither elliptical nor spiral. A version of this image was entered into the "Hubble's Hidden Treasures" photo competition by contestant Judy Schmidt.

Judy Schmidt Esa/hubble Nasa / / ESA/Hubble & NASA

Huge radio dishes surround a church in the southern Bavarian village of Raisting, south of Munich, as seen in a July 22 photo. The Raisting Satellite Earth Station is said to be Germany's largest satellite communication facility.

Michaela Rehle / X01425

The sun-approaching Comet ISON floats against a seemingly infinite backdrop of galaxies and stars in this April 2013 composite image from the Hubble Space Telescope, released on July 16. ISON could put on a dazzling show when it zooms through the inner solar system in late November - or it could just fizzle out.

Nasa / X00653

Muslims look through a telescope for the moon in Jakarta, Indonesia, ahead of the holy fasting month of Ramadan on July 8. The start of Ramadan is calculated based on the sighting of the new moon. The lunar month can last 29 or 30 days.

Agung Kuncahya B / Xinhua

Streaks from a few meteors are visible at the beginning of the Delta Aquarid meteor shower in this shot, captured from a vantage point off Highway 44 in rural Iowa on July 28.

Cory Schmitz’s photostream on Flickr

Cory Schmitz

The Saturnian moons Mimas (top) and Pandora appear together in this image, taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft in May and released on July 30. Pandora's small size means that it lacks sufficient gravity to pull itself into a round shape like its larger sibling, Mimas. Researchers believe that the elongated shape of Pandora (50 miles or 81 kilometers across) may hold clues to how it and other moons near Saturn's rings formed.

Nasa/jpl-caltech/space Science I / NASA

An orbital image from NASA's Aqua satellite shows phytoplankton blooming in the North Atlantic Ocean on July 23. The waters of the North Atlantic rank among the world's most productive fisheries. The reason for the abundance is an ample supply of phytoplankton, the base of the marine food chain. Plankton blooms spanning hundreds of miles appear across the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans every year.

Ho / AFP

Retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield performs during Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on July 1. Hadfield made his mark aboard the International Space Station by sending back amazing photos and videos from orbit, including a spacey rendition of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."

Chris Wattie / X90141

Large masses of storm clouds gather over the Atlantic Ocean near Brazil and the equator in this view from the International Space Station on July 4. A Russian spacecraft, docked to the orbiting outpost, partially covers a small patch of sunglint on the ocean waters in a break in the clouds.

Nasa / Handout / NASA

India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India, on July 1 to carry a navigation satellite into orbit.

Arun Sankar K / AP

This ultraviolet image from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer shows NGC 6744, one of the galaxies most similar to our Milky Way in the local universe. The spiral galaxy is situated in the constellation of Pavo, about 30 million light-years from Earth. NASA featured this picture of NGC 6744 to mark the termination of the Galaxy Evolution Explorer on June 28 after a decade of operations.

Ho / AFP

Visitors view the space shuttle Atlantis on the opening day of its exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida on June 29. The developers of the exhibit have raised the 150,000-pound (68,000-kilogram) spaceship 30 feet (9 meters) into the air and tilted it 43 degrees over on its left side, simulating the vehicle in flight.

Mike Brown / X00863