A gorgeous full moon is seen rising over Uludag Mountain in Bursa Province, Turkey. This alluring telephoto view of the twilight scene is a composite of images taken roughly every two minutes beginning shortly after Sunset, following the rising Moon as it moves up and to the right. Of course, as the Moon rises it gets brighter and changes color, becoming less reddened as the sight-line through the dense atmosphere is steadily reduced. Tunc Tezel/NASA
When stars form, pandemonium reigns. A textbook case is the star forming region NGC 2170. Visible above are red, glowing emission nebulas of hydrogen, blue reflection nebulas of dust, dark absorption nebulas of dust, and the stars that formed from them. The first massive stars formed from the dense gas will emit energetic light and winds that erode, fragment, and sculpt their birthplace. Russell Croman/NASA
Recorded on July 7, 1998, this animation using X-ray images of the Sun shows an amazing event - three nearly simultaneous jets connected with solar active regions. The two frames were taken several hours apart by the Soft X-ray Telescope on board the orbiting Yohkoh observatory. They have a 'negative' color scheme, the darker colors representing more intense X-rays from the corona and active regions on the solar surface. ISAS/Yohkoh Project/SXT Group/NASA
Orbiting Jupiter once every 43 hours, the volcanic moon Io cruises 500,000 kilometers above swirling, banded cloud-tops. Orbiting Earth once every 1.5 hours, the Hubble Space Telescope watched as Io accompanied by its shadow crossed the face of the reigning gas giant planet in 1997. John Spencer/Lowell Observatory/NASA
Scattered debris from a cosmic supernova explosion lights up the sky in this gorgeous composited image based on data from the Hubble Space Telescope. Cataloged as N49, these glowing filaments of shocked gas span about 30 light-years in our neighboring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud. Light from the original exploding star reached Earth thousands of years ago, but N49 also marks the location of another energetic outburst, an extremely intense blast of gamma-rays, detected by satellites on March 5, 1979. Hubble Heritage Team/STScI/AURA/Y. Chu/UIUC/NASA
The Sun reaches its southernmost declination in planet Earth's sky in 2005. Of course, the December Solstice marks the beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere and summer in the south. When viewed from northern latitudes, the Sun will make its lowest arc through the sky along the southern horizon. So in the north, the Solstice day has the shortest length of time between sunrise and sunset and fewest hours of daylight. Danilo Pivato/NASA
Such beautiful things begin as grains of sand. Locked in an oyster a granule grows into an iridescent pearl, lustrous and lovely to behold. While hurtling through the atmosphere at 70 kilometers per second, a cosmic sand grain becomes an awe-inspiring meteor, its transient beauty displayed for any who care to watch. Framed perfectly between orange clouds at sunrise, this bright meteor trail was photographed from the Joshua Tree National Park in California, USA during the 1998 Leonid Meteor Shower. Wally Pacholka/NASA
Like delicate cosmic petals, these clouds of interstellar dust and gas have blossomed 1,300 light-years away in the fertile star fields of the constellation Cepheus. Sometimes called the Iris Nebula and dutifully cataloged as NGC 7023, this is not the only nebula in the sky to evoke the imagery of flowers. Still, this beautiful digital image shows off the Iris Nebula's range of colors and symmetries in impressive detail. Jean-Charles Cuillandre/CFHT/Hawaiian Starlight/CFHT
Brilliant streaks of blue and duller swirls of green color are seen in the South Atlantic Ocean in this Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer image, taken on January 4, 2005, by NASA’s Terra satellite. The colors are a result of millions of microscopic plants growing near the surface of the water. Called phytoplankton, some varieties of the plants are coated with white scales. When viewed through the ocean waters, the floating white plants appear blue. Terra/MODIS/NASA
While enjoying the spaceweather on a gorgeous summer evening in mid-July, astronomer Philippe Moussette captured this colorful fish-eye lens view looking north from the Observatoire Mont Cosmos, Quebec, Canada, planet Earth. In the foreground, lights along the northern horizon give an orange cast to the low clouds. But far above the clouds, at altitudes of 60 miles or more, are alluring green and purple hues of the aurora borealis or northern lights, a glow powered by energetic particles at the edge of space. Philippe Moussette/Mont Cosmos/NASA
Many worry a new EU mission – which replaces a larger Italian effort patrolling for refugees traveling from North Africa to Europe – means more migrants will die. This year, more than 3,000 people have perished – five times as many as in 2013.
They are packed into the stinking holds of ramshackle boats. Water and food are scarce, and they are beaten by ruthless smugglers if they dare to try to reach the deck for a lungful of air. The more truculent have at times simply been thrown overboard.