As the year comes to a close, it's time to take a look back at some of the most memorable events and images of 2015. Among the events covered in this essay (the first of a three-part photo summary of the year): Conflict between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels, the beginning of the new Star Wars hype, the growth of solar power as an energy source, the start of the year’s enormous migrant crisis, a sunset on Mars, and much more. The series will comprise 120 images in all. Warning, some of the photos may contain graphic or objectionable content.
A man rescues a migrant from the Aegean Sea, in the eastern island of Rhodes, Greece, on April 20, 2015. Greek authorities said that at least three people died, including a child, after a wooden boat carrying tens of migrants ran aground off the island of Rhodes.
Argiris Mantikos / AP
Demonstrators make their way along Boulevard Voltaire in a unity rally in Paris following the terrorist attacks on January 11, 2015 in Paris, France. An estimated one million people were expected to converge in central Paris for the Unity March in remembrance of the 17 victims of a terrorist attacks in the country. French President Francois Hollande led the march, joined by world leaders in a sign of unity. The terrorist atrocities started with the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12, and ended days later with sieges at a printing company in Dammartin en Goele and a kosher supermarket in Paris with four hostages and three suspects being killed.
Christopher Furlong / Getty
Lemurs eat at Qingdao Forest Wildlife World in Qingdao, Shandong province, China, on January 27, 2015.
China Daily / Reuters
ESA's comet-chasing Rosetta spacecraft made this four-image mosaic of images taken from a distance of 28 kilometers from the center of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on January 31, 2015.
European Space Agency – ESA
An Orthodox priest stands next to the bodies of Ukrainian soldiers on a check-point captured by pro-Russian rebels at the town of Krasniy Partizan, eastern Ukraine, on January 24, 2015.
Mstyslav Chernov / AP
A passenger without pants waits for the subway train during “The No Pants Subway Ride” in Mexico City on January 11, 2015. The event, the fifth organized in Mexico, is an annual flash mob and occurs in different cities around the world, according to its organizers.
Edgard Garrido / Reuters
Ebola survivor and nurse's aid Benetha Coleman comforts an infant girl with Ebola symptoms in the high-risk area of the Doctors Without Borders, Ebola Treatment Unit, on January 26, 2015, in Paynesville, Liberia. Ebola survivors have immunity to the strain of the disease which infected them. The baby's blood test later came out as negative.
John Moore / Getty
Cats crowd the harbor on Aoshima Island in the Ehime Prefecture in southern Japan on February 25, 2015. An army of cats rules the remote island in southern Japan, curling up in abandoned houses or strutting about in a fishing village that is overrun with felines outnumbering humans six to one.
Thomas Peter / Reuters
A woman shovels snow on Joy Street during a winter blizzard in Boston, Massachusetts, on February 15, 2015. The U.S. Northeast faced several major storms over the winter, burying many areas in several feet of snow and bringing normal life to a standstill.
Brian Snyder / Reuters
Acrobatic pilots perform on the first public day of the Australian International Airshow at the Avalon Airfield, near Lara southwest of Melbourne on February 27 2015.
Paul Crock / AFP / Getty
Left Shark, Katy Perry, and another shark perform during the halftime show at the NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots in Glendale, Arizona, on February 1, 2015.
Lucy Nicholson / Reuters
A man carries the body of his mother after what activists said were air strikes by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Marj Al Sultan, in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria, on February 27, 2015.
Amer Almohibany / Reuters
A Kosovo man carries his baby as he crosses illegally the Hungarian-Serbian border near the village of Asotthalom on February 6, 2015. The European Union is experiencing a steep rise in the number of Kosovo citizens smuggling themselves into the affluent bloc, with 10,000 filing for asylum in Hungary in just one month this year compared to 6,000 for the whole of 2013. It follows a relaxation of travel rules allowing Kosovars to reach EU borders via Serbia and has coincided with political turmoil and street unrest in Kosovo fueled by poverty, high unemployment, and economically debilitating corruption.
Laszlo Balogh / Reuters
Hawaii’s Big Island is seen in this image taken by European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti from the International Space Station, on February 28, 2015.
Samantha Cristoforetti / ESA / Reuters
A child wears gloves on her feet as she arrives with her mother on the boat “Nos Taurus Genova” at the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo, on February 16, 2015. Better weather had encouraged migrants to make the perilous journey from North Africa, where a breakdown of order in Libya has made it almost impossible to police the traffickers who pack people onto rickety boats.
Alessandro Bianchi / Reuters
A Russia-backed rebel rests as a dog eats from a can in Debaltseve, Ukraine, on February 20, 2015. After weeks of relentless fighting, the embattled Ukrainian rail hub of Debaltseve fell to Russian-backed separatists, who hoisted a flag in triumph over the town. The Ukrainian president confirmed that he had ordered troops to pull out and the rebels reported taking hundreds of soldiers captive.
Vadim Ghirda / AP
Solar panels at the photovoltaic park in Les Mees, in the department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France, on March 31, 2015. The solar farm of the Colle des Mees, the biggest in France, consists of 112,780 solar modules generating 100 megawatts of power.
Jean-Paul Pelissier / Reuters
Thai Buddhist monks pray and gather at Wat Dhammakaya temple in Pathum Thani province to participate in Makha Bucha Day ceremonies on March 4, 2015. Makha Bucha, a religious holiday that marks the anniversary of Lord Buddha's mass sermon to the first 1,250 newly ordained monks 2,558 years ago.
Sakchai Lalit / AP
A Russian-backed female rebel fighter watches as colleagues perform during a beauty contest involving women from the main separatist battalions in Donetsk, Ukraine, on March 7, 2015. Self-proclaimed authorities in the rebel-held Donetsk held the beauty pageant on the eve of March 8, a women's day widely celebrated throughout the former Soviet Union.
Vadim Ghirda / AP
The body of a woman killed by recent shelling lies on a street in the residential sector in the town of Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, on February 10, 2015. Three people were killed and 15 wounded in the rocket strike on the town of Kramatorsk, the government-controlled regional administration said in a statement.
Gleb Garanich / Reuters
A total solar eclipse is seen in Longyearbyen on Svalbard on March 20, 2015. A partial eclipse was visible on Friday, the first day of northern spring, across parts of Africa, Europe, and Asia. The total eclipse of the sun was only visible in the Faroe Islands and the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard in the Arctic Ocean.
Jon Olav Nesvold / NTB scanpix / Reuters
A sign at a crosswalk near California State University in Hayward, California, photographed on March 10, 2015.
Robert Galbraith / Reuters
National Hot Rod Association top fuel dragster driver Larry Dixon crashes after his car broke in half during qualifying for the Gatornationals at Auto Plus Raceway on March 14, 2015, in Gainesville, Florida. Dixon walked away from the incident.
Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today Sports / Reuters
Linebacker Taiwan Jones prepares to run a drill during Michigan State NFL football pro-day in East Lansing, Michigan, on March 18, 2015.
Paul Sancya / AP
Wreckage of an Airbus A320 is seen at the crash site, near Seyne-les-Alpes, French Alps, on March 26, 2015. A young German co-pilot locked himself alone in the cockpit of Germanwings Flight 9525 and set it on course to crash into an Alpine Mountain, killing all 150 people on board including himself, prosecutors said. French prosecutors offered no motive for why 27-year-old Andreas Lubitz apparently took the controls of the Airbus A320, locked the captain out of the cockpit, and deliberately set it veering down from cruising altitude at 3,000 feet per minute.
Emmanuel Foudrot / Reuters
An Orthodox priest blesses Sergey Semchenko of the Russian Search and Recovery Forces after having blessed the Soyuz rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome Launch pad on March 26, 2015, in Kazakhstan.
Bill Ingalls / NASA
A Syrian Kurdish boy sits on a destroyed tank in the Syrian town of Kobane, also known as Ain al-Arab, on March 27, 2015. ISIS fighters were driven out of Kobane on January 26 by Kurdish and allied forces.
Yasin Akgul / AFP / Getty
An airplane sits on the ground after crash landing at Penmar Golf Course in Venice, California, on March 5, 2015. The pilot, actor Harrison Ford, was injured in the crash, caused by engine failure. Ford suffered multiple gashes to his head and broken bones, spending nearly a month in the hospital for treatment.
Lucy Nicholson / Reuters
BB-8, a new Star Wars robot character crosses the stage at the kick-off event of the Star Wars celebration convention in Anaheim, California, on April 16, 2015.
David McNew / Reuters
Models showcase designs during the Maticevski Show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia 2015 at Carriageworks in Sydney, Australia, on April 14, 2015.
Ryan Pierse / Getty
A young boy walks past a makeshift barricade made of wrecked buses to obstruct the view of regime snipers and to keep people safe, on March 14, 2015, in the rebel-held side of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. Syria's conflict entered its fifth year on March 15, 2015.
Karam Al-Masri / AFP / Getty
A humanoid robot named Han developed by Hanson Robotics reacts as the controller commands it via a mobile phone to make a facial expression during the Global Sources spring electronics show, in Hong Kong on April 18, 2015. According to Hanson Robotics the robot's skin is made out of a material called Frubber, an elastic polymer that mimics the human skin, and installed with about 40 motors on its face which help create various expressions.
Tyrone Siu / Reuters
Smoke rises during an air strike on an army weapons depot on a mountain overlooking Yemen's capital Sanaa, on April 20, 2015. A Saudi Arabian-led intervention began in March, directing airstrikes against mainly Houthi targets, trying to influence the ongoing civil war in Yemen.
Khaled Abdullah / Reuters
A sunset on Mars. NASA's Curiosity Mars rover recorded this view of the sun setting at the close of the mission's 956th Martian day, or sol (Earth date, April 15, 2015), from the rover's location in Gale Crater. Dust in the Martian atmosphere has fine particles that permit blue light to penetrate the atmosphere more efficiently than longer-wavelength colors. That causes the blue colors in the mixed light coming from the sun to stay closer to sun's part of the sky, compared to the wider scattering of yellow and red colors.
JPL-Caltech / MSSS / Texas A&M University / NASA
A “nail house,” the last building in the area, sits in the middle of a road under construction in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China, on April 10, 2015. According to local media, the owner of the house didn't reach an agreement with the local authority about compensation of the demolition.
A man looks through a window of Garissa morgue at the bodies of suspected Garissa University College attackers on April 4, 2015. The death toll in an assault by Somali Al-Shabaab militants on Garissa University College reached 148, a government source and media said, as anger grew among local residents over what they say as a government failure to prevent bloodshed.
Goran Tomasevic / Reuters
Nepalese army personnel and a sniffer dog search for victims amidst the rubble of collapsed houses after Saturday's earthquake in Bhaktapur, Nepal, on April 27, 2015.
Navesh Chitrakar / Reuters
Ropes weighted down with water bottles are used to apply traction to the legs of an injured girl after she fractured them during the recent earthquake, at a hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal, on April 29, 2015.
Danish Siddiqui / Reuters
A hand is uncovered as Iraqi forensic teams recovered dead bodies from a mass grave in the presidential compound of the former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in Tikrit on April 6, 2015. Iraqi forensic teams were excavating 12 suspected mass grave sites thought to hold the corpses of as many as 1,700 soldiers massacred the previous summer by ISIS militants as they swept across northern Iraq.
Stringer / Reuters
Girls who survived what activists said was a ground-to-ground missile attack by forces of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, hold hands at Aleppo's Bab al-Hadeed district on April 7, 2015.