The year 2014 is coming to a close, and what an amazing year it has been for the scientific community.

January started off with a bang - literally - as a supernova was spotted in the night sky that was visible with the naked eye. It is rare to have one in our local part of the galaxy, and this was spectacular even without a telescope. The year continued to be a fun one for amateur astronomers, with April seeing a lunar eclipse, an evening of meteor showers, and Mars in opposition. Through the summer we were treated to the supermoon, bringing us the brightest a biggest view of the moon in recent memory, followed in August by the annual Perseid meteor showers.

Meanwhile the team behind the Rosetta space mission have had a mixed year. After a decade of travelling through the solar system, the probe was awoken as it closed on its target - Comet 67P. The wake-up procedure went smoothly, bringing the promise of unprecedented views and data on comet structure. By November the hope was waning, as the Philae lander successfully dropped to the comet surface, and then bounced off again and landed in a shady crater. Teams did their best, but in the end there wasn't enough sunlight to power the solar panels and the lander was effectively dead on arrival. However the Rosetta probe will continue to follow the comet into the new year, and hopefully will produce some interesting data of its own.

The other big space missions this year were the Kepler probe and its ongoing search for new planets, and the New Horizons probe which awoke just a few weeks ago near the orbit of Pluto with promises of new data on the former planet to be released in the coming months. In February Kepler announced the discovery of hundreds of interesting new worlds and effectively doubled the number of known exoplanets, while April saw Kepler discovering the most Earth-like planet yet discovered outside of our own solar system. May saw the discovery of a bizarre world with an 80,000 Earth-year long orbit, which also became the first exoplanet to be directly imaged instead of just inferred. Although Kepler seems to be struggling now with technical issues, both probes have done an admirable job thus far of exploring new worlds. In October we also learned that the Saturnian moon Mimas appears to have underground bodies of liquid water, which is a necessary component of life. Perhaps in the coming years probes to Mimas will have bigger discoveries to make.

On an even larger scale, cosmologists spent the year debating B-mode polarization in the cosmic microwave background. In March it was announced that the measurements of the primordial microwaves confirmed the theory of cosmic inflation and opened new methods of studying quantum theories of gravity. By September rival teams were claiming the original data was misinterpreted, and the polarization was an error. For now no one can say which team is correct, but we expect the new year to see more debate on this issue.

And from the largest scales we move to the smallest scales of nature. 

In January the LHC announced the first beam of anti-hydrogen ever produced. While it is a long way from actual chunks of anti-matter, it is still a big step towards more detailed studies of this rare substance. Then in April the LHCb made headlines with the seeming discovery of a new state of matter composed of quarks. These are both interesting results, but this year particle physicists didn't have the headlines as they did with the Higgs discovery. However with the LHC tooling up for another big run in 2015, that may change in the coming months.

And of course there were countless other big science stories this year, too numerous by far to list them all in this brief review. This was the year that the medical technology community finally made breakthroughs with mind-controlled artificial limbs. This was the year that energy efficient lighting was truly recognized for its importance with a Nobel prize. We have seen new experiments started this year to test everything from the holographic principle to new ways of interpreting quantum mechanics. 

And the most amazing discoveries of all are yet to be made. May 2015 bring us many more grand adventures in our ongoing explorations of the largest and smallest scales of nature!

Happy New Year!!