For as long as we know, humanity has looked up at the sky and wondered about our place in this vast universe while marveling at the beauty of the stars.
As Carl Sagan said in Cosmos,”the size and age of the cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home.”
This year was an especially big year for space observation and exploration.
In 2014 we’ve seen auroras transform the sky, been dazzled by solar eruptions, cheered as we landed on our first comet, and marveled at images of our fragile planet captured from other worlds.
James Woodend won the 2014 Astronomy Photography of the Year competition with this photo of a vivid green aurora in Iceland's Vatnajökull National Park.
NASA's Curiosity rover shared its very first picture of Earth from Mars. The photo was taken about 80 minutes after sunset on Jan. 31, 2014, NASA said. The rover tweeted the photo with the accompanying caption: 'Look Back in Wonder... My 1st picture of Earth from the surface of Mars.'
Hubble's most colourful view of the universe ever. The picture was released in June and presented during a meeting of the American Astronomical Society.
In January the sun started spewing forth an unusual type of solar eruption, which is captured in this composite image.
Jeremy Grey shoots incredible images of Maine's night sky. Mesmerising star trails paint the night sky along the frozen, snow-blanketed banks of Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park in this image Grey dubbed 'Celestial Winter.'
Bill Synder won the 'Deep Space' category in the 2014 Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest with this shot of the Horsehead Nebula.
There was a lot of solar activity this year, which created some incredible auroras. Reuters photographer Yannis Behrakis traveled to Norway to capture this shot.
In November, humanity got its closest look ever at a comet via the Philae lander and Rosetta spacecraft -- here's what the comet looked like from the ship.
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