The biggest story of the year -- the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut -- occurred just two weeks before the year was to end. Here's a look at the other big stories in 2012.
Singer Whitney Houston performs at the 2011 Pre-GRAMMY Gala and Salute To Industry Icons Honoring David Geffen at Beverly Hilton on February 12, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. Houston died exactly one year later. (Photo by Kevork)
Lori Hall searches for items to salvage in the home of her aunt and uncle after it was destroyed by an EF-4 tornado March 4, 2012 in Henryville, Indiana. A series of twisters tore across the country this spring. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
A sign displays of the record $640 Mega Millions jackpot on March 30, 2012 in Covina, California. The Powerball jackpot would top $600 million in November.(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
FILE: George Zimmerman sits on the stand in a Seminole County courtroom on April 20, 2012 in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman is charged with murder in the death of Trayvon Martin. (Photo by Gary Green/The Orlando Sentinel-Pool/Getty Images)
Actor Christian Bale and his wife Sandra Blazic visit the memorial across the street from the Century 16 movie theater where 12 people were killed and 58 injured at a screening of the new 'Batman' film in Aurora, Colo.
A Nasdaq television reporter inside the Nasdaq studios as the Facebook logo is displayed on a ticker board on May 17, 2012 in New York City ahead of the company's IPO.
Jordyn Wieber, Gabrielle Douglas, Mc Kayla Maroney, Alexandra Raisman and Kyla Ross celebrate after winning the gold medal in the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team final of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky leaves the Centre County Courthouse after being sentenced in his child sex abuse case on October 9, 2012 in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.
Members of the U.S. Navy ceremonial guard hold an American flag over the remains of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong during a burial at sea service September 14, 2012 in the Atlantic Ocean.
Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide product marketing Phil Schiller announces the new iPhone 5 during an Apple special event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on September 12, 2012.
In this photo provided by NASA, a view of the lower reaches of Mount Sharp is shown in a cropped image taken with a 34-millimeter Mast Camera on NASA's Curiosity rover on August 18, 2012 on Mars.(Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
Felix Baumgartner lands in the desert during the second manned test flight for Red Bull Stratos on July 25, 2012 in Roswell, New Mexico. He would make a record high 24 mile skydive in October.
A swan swims near the flooded home of the Maziekien family on November 21, 2012 in Mantoloking, New Jersey. Mantoloking was one of the hardest hit areas by Superstorm Sandy. The storm devastated the northeast.
President Barack Obama stands on stage with first lady Michelle Obama, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden after his victory speech on election night.
Government officials testify during a hearing focused on the meningitis outbreak originating at a Massachusetts pharmacy that has killed 36 people and sickened 541 more on November 15, 2012 on Capitol Hill.
Cyclist Lance Armstrong addresses participants at The LIVESTRONG Challenge Ride at the Palmer Events Center on October 21, 2012 in Austin, Texas. Armstrong later cut ties with LIVESTRONG amid doping allegations.
CIA Director David Petraeus at the New York Stock Exchange to ring the Opening Bell on September 18, 2012. Petraeus resigned in a sex scandal less then a month later.
Hostess Brands Twinkies are shown on November 16, 2012. Hostess Brands Inc. decided to liquidate its business after striking workers didn't return to work.
Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner speaks during a news conference November 29, 2012 on Capitol Hill saying the White House has to get serious on the fiscal cliff issue.