5. Rare triple-moon conjunction captured by Hubble
Firing off a string of snapshots like a sports photographer at a NASCAR race, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captured a rare look at three of Jupiter’s largest moons – Europa, Callisto and Io – parading across the banded face of the gas giant back in January.
4. Cassini’s shot of Titan
While Cassini has dazzled us with a glut of Saturnian moon images this year, this infrared view of Saturn’s moon Titan is perhaps one of the most breathtaking. The spacecraft’s visual and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIMS) instrument made these observations in November. Thanks to the near-infrared wavelengths in this image, Cassini’s vision is able to penetrate the haze and reveal the moon’s surface.
3. SpaceX’s vertical landing of a Falcon 9 rocket
Privately-owned SpaceX made aerospace history when one of their reusable Falcon 9 rockets took off vertically from its launchpad, pierced the boundary of space and deposited its second stage into orbit before returning to Earth. Incredibly, the rocket then landed upright and not far from where its journey began.
2. British astronaut Tim Peake welcomed on board the ISS
Earlier this month, European Space Agency Tim Peake blasted off to the International Space Station with Tim Kopra and Yuri Malenchenko on board a Soyuz TMA-19M. Peake embraces astronaut Scott Kelly in this video still, marking the beginning of Expedition 46/47. Check out our exclusive interview with Tim Peake here.
1. New Horizons’ colour view of Pluto
New Horizons captured one of the best images of the dwarf planet to date in July. This particular shot, which was made using data from the spacecraft’s Ralph instrument to create an enhanced global view, was taken 450,000 kilometres (280,000 miles) away from Pluto. Keep up to date with the latest news on New Horizons here.