2015: The Year in Photos, January-April

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. See also, the Top 25 News Photos of 2015, and the Year in Photos, Part 2, and Part 3. The series comprises 120 images in all. Warning, some of the photos may contain graphic or objectionable content.

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  • Gwendoline Defente / EMAE via AP

    A Growing Oil Spill Off the Coast of Mauritius

    After running aground and being battered by waves for days, the MV Wakashio has leaked tons of fuel oil.

  • Wesley Hitt / Getty

    Arkansas: Images of the Natural State

    A few glimpses of the landscape of Arkansas, and some of the animals and people calling it home

  • Kiran Ridley / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Ribblehead Viaduct, Lobster Party, Dragon Splashdown

    Back to school in Georgia, a raccoon on the mike in California, Highland cattle in Scotland, damage after the explosion in Beirut, a pyrocumulus cloud in California, cooling in a pool in Spain, and much more

  • AFP / Getty

    The Aftermath of the Beirut Explosion

    Images of the widespread damage in Beirut, a day after the devastating blast