6 of the most remarkable space moments of 2017

From the astonishing solar eclipse that captivated millions across America to the end of the 20-year long Cassini spacecraft mission, 2017 was an astounding year for space discoveries. 

Below are six of the most remarkable moments in space that have occurred in the last 12 months.

The Great American Total Solar Eclipse 

On Aug. 21, a total solar eclipse crossed the United States for the first time in nearly 100 years. Millions of Americans were able to witness this cosmic hiccup where the moon blocked out the sun, revealing hidden layers of the sun’s atmosphere. The event was especially unique because it was the first eclipse to pass over the entire country in the 21st century -- the last eclipse of this magnitude happened in 1918. For Americans that missed out on this astonishing phenomenon, the next total solar eclipse is in 2024.

RELATED: Photos from 2017's total solar eclipse

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Total solar eclipse 2017
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Total solar eclipse 2017
A multiple exposure image shows the solar eclipse as it creates the effect of a diamond ring at totality as seen from Clingmans Dome, which at 6,643 feet (2,025m) is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, U.S. August 21, 2017. Location coordinates for this image are 35�33'24" N, 83�29'46" W. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A combination of ten pictures shows the progression of a partial solar eclipse near as a jet plane flies by the total solar eclipse in Guernsey, Wyoming U.S., August 21, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
SALUDA, SOUTH CAROLINA - AUGUST 21: A small plane is silhouetted by the eclipse as it flies thru the path of totality on August 21, 2017 in Saluda, South Carolina. (Photo by Lou Brutus/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 21: The solar eclipse is seen at Liberty Island on August 21, 2017 in New York City. While New York was not in the path of totality for the solar eclipse, around 72 percent of the sun was covered by the moon during the peak time of the partial eclipse. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)
ROXBURY, NJ - AUGUST 21: The Moon is seen passing in front of the Sun during a Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017 at Roxbury High School in Roxbury, NJ. A total solar eclipse swept across a narrow portion of the contiguous United States from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. A partial solar eclipse was visible across the entire North American continent along with parts of South America, Africa, and Europe. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ROXBURY, NJ - AUGUST 21: The Moon is seen passing in front of the Sun during a Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017 at Roxbury High School in Roxbury, NJ. A total solar eclipse swept across a narrow portion of the contiguous United States from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. A partial solar eclipse was visible across the entire North American continent along with parts of South America, Africa, and Europe. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ROXBURY, NJ - AUGUST 21: The Moon is seen passing in front of the Sun during a Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017 at Roxbury High School in Roxbury, NJ. A total solar eclipse swept across a narrow portion of the contiguous United States from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. A partial solar eclipse was visible across the entire North American continent along with parts of South America, Africa, and Europe. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ROXBURY, NJ - AUGUST 21: The Moon is seen passing in front of the Sun during a Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017 at Roxbury High School in Roxbury, NJ. A total solar eclipse swept across a narrow portion of the contiguous United States from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. A partial solar eclipse was visible across the entire North American continent along with parts of South America, Africa, and Europe. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
The total solar eclipse Monday August 21, 2017 in Madras, Oregon. Emotional sky-gazers stood transfixed across North America Monday as the Sun vanished behind the Moon in a rare total eclipse that swept the continent coast-to-coast for the first time in nearly a century. / AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
A total solar eclipse is photographed from atop Carroll Rim Trail at Painted Hills, a unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, near Mitchell, Oregon, U.S. August 21, 2017. Location coordinates for this image is near 44�39'117'' N 120�6'042'' W. REUTERS/Adrees Latif
The solar eclipse creates the effect of a diamond ring at totality as seen from Clingmans Dome, which at 6,643 feet (2,025m) is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, U.S. August 21, 2017. Location coordinates for this image are 35�33'24" N, 83�29'46" W. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
A composite image of the total solar eclipse seen from the Lowell Observatory Solar Eclipse Experience August 21, 2017 in Madras, Oregon. / AFP PHOTO / STAN HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
ILLINOIS, USA - AUGUST 21: (EDITORS NOTE: Multiple exposures were combined to produce this image) This composite image shows the progression of a solar eclipse near Illinois, United States on August 21, 2017. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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Profound discovery of 10 new Earth-sized planets

In June, NASA found evidence of 10 new Earth-sized planets that were part of a group of 219 exoplanets revealed by the Kepler Space Telescope team. Scientists explained that the presence of liquid water on these Earth-like planets could be an important ingredient for the existence of life in space.

First-ever neutron star collision 

On Aug. 17, astronomers made the first-ever observation of a cosmic event using both light and gravitational waves. A neutron star collision 130 million light years away was detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). Around 70 observatories form every continent on Earth watched the two neutron stars crash during this groundbreaking “multi-messenger” event. Because of this phenomenon, thousands of scientists are now making major breakthroughs related to neuron stars and the origin of elements like gold and uranium.

Cassini’s historical death plunge

On Sept. 15, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft ended its groundbreaking 13-year Saturn mission. Cassini made numerous discoveries during its journey to Saturn and its surrounding moons. It took over 300,000 photos of breathtaking occurrences, such as the planet’s swooping rings and its magnetic field, but NASA was forced to end the spacecraft’s mission because it was running out of fuel. Although Cassini burned up in Saturn’s atmosphere, its vast scientific findings will provide researchers with a plethora of data that will help pave the way for future explorations. 

RELATED: 10 breathtaking images from Cassini's mission

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10 breathtaking images from Cassini's mission
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10 breathtaking images from Cassini's mission

1. Cassini's launch

On Oct. 15, 1997, Cassini lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., and began its seven-year journey to Saturn. The early morning launch lit up the sky and was the first leg of its 2.2 billion-mile journey to Saturn. (Photo/NASA)

2. Saturn before arrival

Cassini arrived at Saturn on July 1, 2004, burning its main engine to slow down and be captured by Saturn’s gravity. However, the spacecraft began photographing the planet before this, including the photo above which was taken on May 7, 2004. (Photo/NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)

3. In the shadow of Saturn

On several occasions in Cassini’s 294 orbits around Saturn, the ringed gas giant eclipsed the sun giving the spacecraft the perfect opportunity to photograph the planet from a unique angle. “This marvelous panoramic view was created by combining a total of 165 images taken by the Cassini wide-angle camera over nearly three hours on Sept. 15, 2006,” NASA said. (NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)

4. Storm erupts on Saturn

In 2011, Cassini photographed a massive storm that erupted on Saturn, which lasted for several months. “This storm is the largest, most intense storm observed on Saturn by NASA’s Voyager or Cassini spacecraft,” NASA said. (Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI)

5. Saturn's famous rings

Cassini took thousands of photos of Saturn’s dazzling rings and, in its final orbits, flew between the small gap between the planet and its rings. During its mission, it discovered new rings that were previously too faint to detect. (Photo/NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)

6. Many moons of Saturn

Before Cassini arrived at Saturn, scientists information about its many moons was limited. The long duration of the mission allowed Cassini to study the moons in greater detail, such as Tethys which has a surface comprised of ice. (Photo/NASA/JPL)

7. First photos from Titan

The Huygens probe, built and operated by the European Space Agency, traveled to Saturn with Cassini and was sent to explore Titan. By landing on Titan, Huygens became the only manmade object to land on a body in the outer solar system. (Photo/ESA/NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)

8. The icy moon Enceladus

Enceladus is one of Saturn’s more fascinating moons, covered in a thick layer of ice. Cassini helped to compile evidence of liquid water under the ice, opening the possibility for life to exist. (Photo/NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)

9. Enceladus' plumes of water

Within a year of arriving at Saturn, Cassini captured images of plumes of water vapor jetting out from near the moon’s south pole. The spacecraft photographed this occurrence on many occasions and, near the end of its mission, flew through the plumes to help collect data on their chemical composition. (Photo/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

10. The aurora glows above Saturn

The aurora is a natural phenomenon that occurs on many planets across the solar system, including Saturn. Cassini captured several images showing the green glow of the aurora over Saturn’s south pole in 2007. (Photo/NASA/JPL/ASI/University of Arizona/University of Leicester)

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First interstellar object detected in Earth’s solar system

In October, researchers may have spotted the first-ever object that came from somewhere outside Earth’s solar system. According to NASA, astronomer Rob Weryk first spotted the object, called A/2017 U1, while using the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii. Because scientists have never seen an interstellar comet or asteroid before, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) is working on developing a way to name it and establish guidelines for similar objects that may be discovered in the future.

Gravitational waves are making headlines

Three U.S. scientists won the 2017 Nobel prize for physics in October for pioneering a new era of astronomy by detecting gravitational waves, ripples in space and time predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago. Scientists with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory made the initial discovery of the gravitational waves in 2015. Since then, LIGO has found three more instances of gravitational waves coming from black holes merging. Measuring gravitational waves provides insight into the universe’s earliest moments and can help scientists understand the complexities of space, such as black holes and neutron stars.

RELATED: Photos from some of the most remarkable space moments of 2017

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Astonishing space moments of 2017
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Astonishing space moments of 2017
REFILE - CORRECTING HOW PHOTO WAS TAKEN A composite image of 21 separate photographs taken with a single fixed camera shows the solar eclipse as it creates the effect of a diamond ring at totality as seen from Clingmans Dome, which at 6,643 feet (2,025m) is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, U.S. August 21, 2017. Location coordinates for this image are 35�33'24" N, 83�29'46" W. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Enthusiasts Tanner Person (R) and Josh Blink, both from Vacaville, California, watch a total solar eclipse while standing atop Carroll Rim Trail at Painted Hills, a unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, near Mitchell, Oregon, U.S. August 21, 2017. Location coordinates for this image is near 44�39'117'' N 120�6'042'' W. REUTERS/Adrees Latif TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A jet plane flies by the total solar eclipse in Guernsey, Wyoming U.S. August 21, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A total solar eclipse occurs on August 21, 2017, at Mary's River Covered Bridge, in Chester, IL, USA. (Photo by Patrick Gorski/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
The total solar eclipse Monday August 21, 2017 in Madras, Oregon. Emotional sky-gazers stood transfixed across North America Monday as the Sun vanished behind the Moon in a rare total eclipse that swept the continent coast-to-coast for the first time in nearly a century. / AFP PHOTO / ROB KERR (Photo credit should read ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images)
ROXBURY, NJ - AUGUST 21: The Moon is seen passing in front of the Sun during a Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017 at Roxbury High School in Roxbury, NJ. A total solar eclipse swept across a narrow portion of the contiguous United States from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. A partial solar eclipse was visible across the entire North American continent along with parts of South America, Africa, and Europe. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
People watch the total solar eclipse in Guernsey, Wyoming U.S. August 21, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Cheerleaders use solar viewing glasses before welcoming guests to the football stadium to watch the total solar eclipse at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, U.S., August 21, 2017. Location coordinates for this image are 37�42'25" N 89�13'10" W. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Guests watch the sun re-emerge after a total eclipse at the football stadium at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, U.S., August 21, 2017. Location coordinates for this image are 37�42'25" N 89�13'10" W. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
One of the last looks at Saturn and its main rings as captured by Cassini. When the spacecraft arrived at Saturn in 2004, the planet's northern hemisphere, seen here at top, was in darkness in winter. Now at journey's end, the entire north pole is bathed in sunlight of summer. Images taken October 28, 2016 and released September 11, 2017. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
Cassini team members embrace after the spacecraft was deliberately plunged into Saturn, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, U.S., September 15, 2017. NASA/Joel Kowsky/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT.??
The spacecraft Cassini is pictured above Saturn's northern hemisphere prior to making one of its Grand Finale dives in this NASA handout illustration obtained by Reuters August 29, 2017. NASA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
An illustration released by NASA on October 16, 2017 shows a hot, dense, expanding cloud of debris from two neutron stars before they collided. The image was released to mark the first time scientists detected light tied to a gravitational-wave event, from two merging neutron stars in the galaxy NGC 4993, located about 130 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Hydra. NASA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
The collision of two black holes - a tremendously powerful event detected for the first time ever by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO - is seen in this still image from a computer simulation released in Washington February 11, 2016. Scientists have for the first time detected gravitational waves, ripples in space and time hypothesized by Albert Einstein a century ago, in a landmark discovery announced on Thursday that opens a new window for studying the cosmos. REUTERS/The SXS (Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes)/Handout via Reuters 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 TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
WASHINGTON, Oct. 16, 2017 -- Jo van den Brand, spokesperson of the Virgo collaboration, speaks at a news conference about the update on the search for gravitational waves in Washington D.C., the United States, on Oct. 16, 2017. Scientists announced Monday that they have for the first time detected the ripples in space and time known as gravitational waves as well as light from a spectacular collision of two neutron stars. The detection of the gravitational wave signal, called GW170817, was made at 8:41 a.m. EDT (1241 GMT) on August 17 by twin detectors of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), located in Livingston, Louisiana, and Hanford, Washington. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu via Getty Images)
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