space

This image released by NASA December 15,...This image released by NASA December 15, 2014 shows the easily recognized boot of Italy, with Sicily at its toe, spread across this panorama taken October 21 by astronauts aboard the International Space Station(ISS). On a clear night looking east, the pattern of night lights shows populations concentrated mainly along the coastlines, but also in the Po River Valley of northern Italy(L). Some of the brightest clusters of lights are Rome and nearby Naples, with island cities of Cagliari on Sardinia and Catania on Sicilynow well-known as the hometown of European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano. The small, dark, circular patch dangerously close to Catania marks the unpopulated slopes of the active volcano Etna. Hazy lights, as over the Po valley and Rome, probably indicate thin clouds above. The island of Malta appears at the lower right. The airglow line is vivid in this night shot. AFP PHOTO / HANDOUT / NASA   == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE / MANDATORY CREDIT: "AFP PHOTO / HANDOUT / NASA  "/ NO MARKETING / NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS / NO A LA CARTE SALES / DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS ==Handout/AFP/Getty Images

NASA/AFP/Getty

This image released by Nasa on Monday shows the easily recognised ‘boot of Italy‘, with Sicily at its toe. On a clear night looking east, the pattern of night lights shows populations concentrated mainly along the coastlines.

NASA Prepares For Orion Test Launch...CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - DECEMBER 05:  In this handout provided by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Bright lights illuminate the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket with NASA's Orion spacecraft mounted on top is seen in the early hours of the morning atCape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 37 on Decemeber 05, 2014 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Orion is scheduled to launch and make its first flight test later in the morning. The spacecraft will orbit Earth twice, reaching an altitude of approximately 3,600 miles above Earth before landing in the Pacific Ocean. No one will be aboard Orion for this flight test, but the spacecraft is designed to allow us to journey to destinations never before visited by humans, including an asteroid and Mars. (Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty Images)

Bill Ingalls/Getty/NASA

Lights illuminate the Delta IV rocket that blasted the Orion spacecraft into space at 7.05am US eastern time on Friday at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The spacecraft will orbit Earth twice, reaching an altitude of about 3,600 miles above Earth before landing in the Pacific Ocean 

Taken by the European Southern Observatory shows a view of the bright star cluster NGC 3532 captured by the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESOs La Silla Observatory in Chile. Some of the stars still shine with a hot bluish colour, but many of the more massive ones have become red giants and glow with a rich orange hue.

G. Beccari/European Southern Observatory/AFP

A bright star cluster (NGC 3532) captured by telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile, run by the European Southern Observatory. Some of the stars still shine with a hot bluish colour, but many of the larger ones glow with a rich orange hue

rench National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) president Jean-Yves Le Gall (L), French President Francois Hollande (C) and former French astronaut Claudie Haignere wear 3D glasses during a visit at the Cite des Sciences at La Villette in Paris as they follow the successful landing of the Philae lander on comet 67P/ Churyumov-Gerasimenko. REUTERS/Jacques Brinon/Pool    REUTERS NEWS PICTURES HAS NOW MADE IT EASIER TO FIND THE BEST PHOTOS FROM THE MOST IMPORTANT STORIES AND TOP STANDALONES EACH DAY. Search for "TPX" in the IPTC Supplemental Category field or "IMAGES OF THE DAY" in the Caption field and you will find a selection of 80-100 of our daily Top Pictures.

Reuters

French National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) president Jean-Yves Le Gall, French President Francois Hollande and former French astronaut Claudie Haignere wear 3D glasses during a visit at the Cite des Sciences at La Villette in Paris as they follow the successful landing of the Philae lander on comet 67P. 

Ground personnel work on November 10, 20...Ground personnel work on November 10, 2014 next to the Soyuz TMA-13M capsule, carrying International Space Station (ISS) crew members of Alexander Gerst of Germany, Maxim Surayev of Russia and Reid Wiseman of the United States, after its landing near the town of Arkalyk in northern Kazakhstan. A veteran Russian cosmonaut and two International Space Station crewmates, one from the United States and one from Germany, returned safely to Earth on November 10 with a parachute landing of their Soyuz capsule in Kazakhstan, ending 5,5 months in orbit.    AFP PHOTO / POOL / SHAMIL ZHUMATOVSHAMIL ZHUMATOV/AFP/Getty Images

Shamil Zhumatov/AFP/Getty

Ground personnel work on the Soyuz TMA-13M capsule, carrying International Space Station crew members Alexander Gerst of Germany, Maxim Surayev of Russia and Reid Wiseman of the US, after its landing near the town of Arkalyk in northern Kazakhstan. 

An unmanned spacecraft is launched atop an advanced Long March 3C rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. China launched an experimental spacecraft Friday to fly around the moon and back to Earth in preparation for the country's first unmanned return trip to the lunar surface.

Jiang Hongjing/Xinhua/AP

China launches a spacecraft from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest province Sichuan. The experimental spacecraft will fly around the moon and back to Earth in preparation for the country’s first unmanned return trip to the lunar surface.

Hurricane Gonzalo was taken from the International Space Station by European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst.  The resort island chain of Bermuda braced October 17, 2014 for a hit from Hurricane Gonzalo, forecast to produce flooding, strong winds and a life-threatening storm surge. The capital Hamilton was eerily quiet as people retreated to the safety of their homes. Schools, businesses, grocery stores and government offices all closed early Thursday, and many people boarded up the windows of their homes and placed sandbags outside in preparation. As of early Friday, Gonzalo's winds were whirling at 125 miles (200 kilometers) per hour, with even stronger gusts, the US National Hurricane Center said. Gonzalo has already killed one person in the Caribbean and triggered a hurricane warning for the British overseas territory, which is home to around 60,000 people.

Alexander Gerst/NASA/AFP

Hurricane Gonzalo was taken from the International Space Station by European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst. The resort island chain of Bermuda braced on Friday for a hit from Hurricane Gonzalo, forecast to produce flooding, strong winds and a life-threatening storm surge

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman in the first of three spacewalks for the Expedition 41 crew aboard the International Space Station...NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman and European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst (not shown) works outside the space station's Quest airlock in the first of three spacewalks for the Expedition 41 crew aboard the International Space Station in this image released October 8, 2014. The spacewalkers worked outside the space station's Quest airlock for 6 hours and 13 minutes, relocating a failed cooling pump to external stowage and installing gear that provides back up power to external robotics equipment.   REUTERS/Alexander Gerst/NASA/ESA/Handout  (OUTER SPACE - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Alexander Gerst/NASA/ESA/Reuters

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman and European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst (not shown) works outside the space station’s Quest airlock in the first of three spacewalks for the Expedition 41 crew aboard the International Space Station.The spacewalkers worked outside the space station’s Quest airlock for 6 hours and 13 minutes, relocating a failed cooling pump to external stowage and installing gear that provides back up power to external robotics equipment. 

A nighttime view of Europe using the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite in seen in a NASA handout...A nighttime view of Europe made possible by the ìday-night bandî of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) is seen in a global composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite in 2012 and released by NASA October 2, 2014 .  The VIIRS detects light in a range of wavelengths from green to near-infrared and uses filtering techniques to observe dim signals such as city lights, wildfires, and gas flares.   REUTERS/NASA/Handout  (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENVIRONMENT ENERGY SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS

Nasa/Reuters

A night time view of Europe made possible by the iday-night bandi of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) is seen in a global composite assembled from data acquired by the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite. 

A man takes a photo of the Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft as it is lifted to its launch pad at Baikonur cosmodrome...A man takes a photo of the Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft as it is lifted to its launch pad at Baikonur cosmodrome September 23, 2014. The Soyuz is scheduled to carry Barry Wilmore of the U.S., Elena Serova and Alexander Samokutyaev of Russia to the International Space Station on September 26. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov (KAZAKHSTAN - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY)

Shamil Zhumatov/Reuters

A man takes a photo of the Soyuz TMA-14M spacecraft as it is lifted to its launch pad at Baikonur cosmodrome. The Soyuz is scheduled to carry Barry Wilmore of the US, Elena Serova and Alexander Samokutyaev of Russia to the International Space Station on Friday