The view from the International Space Station: Then Back To Earth
These breathtaking pictures of the Earth from space have taken Twitter by storm after they were posted by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station.
Canadian Chris Hadfield snapped the astonishing images over the past few days to give space fans an insight into the incredible views enjoyed from 250 miles above the planet's surface.
Although he has no direct internet connection on the space station, the astronaut has been sending the images back via Nasa to his son Evan, who is maintaining Twitter and Google+ accounts for his many followers on Earth.
'This morning, over Africa, my breath was taken away': Astronaut Chris Hadfield shared this photo on his Twitter account
'Where the Mississippi enters the Gulf of Mexico. The soil of America's heartland forming a vast, deep delta': The Canadian has wowed thousands with his Twitter posts
'Glaciers hiding from the summer sun in the Andes': Each of the photos posted has been accompanied by a wry comment
'It's a bird, it's a plane, it's ... a river in South America': Commander Hadfield has been tweeting since arriving on the ISS on December 21
'The centre of the action: New Orleans - I can see the Superdome! I hope you all enjoy the #Superbowl!' The 53-year-old is soon to take command of the orbital station
'This African lake is begging for me to draw a face on it. Anybody up for a photoshop challenge?' Each of the images present an entrancing view of our planet
Commander Hadfield has been taking the Twitterverse by storm from aboard the ISS since he arrived on the ISS on December 21.
But the 53-year-old's accomplishments spread far beyond the field of photography.
Not only is the 53-year-old set to take command of the space station, but he is also preparing to jam with the head man of indie pop group the Barenaked Ladies and chat with William Shatner in a webcast organised by the Canadian Space Agency. These, his most recent set of pictures, were taken over the past week or so and show locations as diverse as San Francisco's glittering lights and breathtaking cloud formations over Africa.
Not all the images are labelled with their location, but each presents an entrancing view of our jewel-like planet from a vantage point few will ever be able to see it.
The first Canadian to walk in space, Commander Hadfield, 53, a former air force fighter pilot, has previously flown two Space Shuttle missions in 1995 and 2001.
'Clouds, shadows and sand, playing with my imagination': This mesmerising image was posted with no clue as to its location on Earth
'A two-dimensional fountain, a river spurting and fanning into the sea': The images have been shared by Commander Hadfield over the past week
'Back on the East Coast, the Chesapeake Bay from orbit. You can even see the causeway': The astronaut, also a singer songwriter, will jam with Ed Robertson on Friday
'In the spirit of the day: San Francisco at night - crystal clear, can even see the lights of Alcatraz from space': That's after he chats with William Shatner on Thursday
'You know you're a big dam when you a) have your own airport & b) are visible from space': The images are sent to his son Evan, who posts them online on his behalf
'Tentacles of an Andes river drain the meltwaters': These are views which few people will ever get the chance to see for themselves
Aside from his military and space career, the former farm boy also has a strong creative streak, expressed not only through his beautiful photography but also as a singer-songwriter.
On Friday he will conduct an Earth-plus-space jam with the Barenaked Ladies' Ed Roberston, a fellow Canadian, to add another accomplishment to his already enviable biography.
And that comes after a chat with the original spaceship commander James T Kirk - aka William Shatner - to be broadcast online and on Twitter on Thursday.
You can see more incredible pictures from space and catch up on Commander Hadfield's progress on Twitter at @Cmdr_Hadfield.
'The endless beaches of Australia - that's where I'd go for Australia Day!'
'In the lee of the rock - protecting an island of humanity in a sea of orange sand.' Some of the pictures look as if they are from a foreign planet
'Taming the Nile - the Aswan Dam's reservoir, Lake Nasser, highlighted in sun glint'
'A blue river in Brazilian farmland provides a striking contrast of colour and landscape.' A lush image of Brazil by the astronaut
'Replacing cooling lines for the spacewalk suits. Thick black insulation keeps dew from forming and causing corrosion,' Flight Engineer Chris Hadfield gets to work
'Question of the day: What made these eight clouds? Is the Earth sending smoke signals?' The astronaut spots a mysterious sighting
'Venezuelan valley framed by misty clouds - mysterious, beautiful and surreal.' The amazing pictures show the world in a whole new light
'Water has structure. We just aren't normally in a place to see it'
'Boston at night, glowing under a trace of fog'
'Aruba in the Caribbean Sea - when I say it, the Beach Boys play in my head'
'Cauliflower clouds over the Amazon rainforest. A river like lightning'
'The Golden Gate Bridge from space, and if you look closely, its shadow'
'You can see the floodwaters pouring straight through Bundaberg and into the ocean. Keep safe and dry down there'
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, commander of the just-completed Expedition 35 aboard the International Space Station, landed safely yesterday in Kazakhstan along with crew members Tom Marshburn and Roman Romanenko after five months in orbit. In his time aboard the ISS, Commander Hadfield not only took hundreds of photographs and conducted conferences with students on Earth, he took his stories to social media, catching the attention of the world. Hadfield, with the help of his sons Evan and Kyle, took the web by storm, creating popular presences on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr,YouTube, and more. His videos answered questions about everyday existence in zero-gravity with a dose of science mixed with humor. To top things off, Hadfield, also a musician, finished his command mission by releasing his own version of David Bowie's "Space Oddity", with Bowie's blessing. Gathered here are some photos of and by Commander Hadfield during his remarkable mission. [40 photos]
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The Russian Soyuz space capsule, carrying Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, U.S. astronaut Tom Marshburn, and Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, lands some 150 km (90 miles) southeast of the town of Zhezkazgan in central Kazakhstan, on May 14, 2013. The first Canadian astronaut to command the International Space Station (ISS) landed safely in Kazakhstan with two crewmates on Tuesday, wrapping up a five-month mission aboard the ISS. (Reuters/Mikhail Metzel)
Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield, in a training version of his Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) spacesuit, on July 19, 2011.(NASA/Robert Markowitz) #
ISS crew members, from left: Roman Romanenko, Thomas Marshburn and Chris Hadfield, joke during a talk with relatives after putting on their space suits at the Baikonur cosmodrome Kazakhstan, on Wednesday, December 19, 2012. (AP Photo/ Shamil Zhumatov, pool) #
Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency pays tribute at the Kremlin Wall in Moscow, on November 29, 2012 where Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space and other Russian space heroes are interred, on November 29, 2012. The tribute, involving the laying of flowers at the Wall, was part of ceremonial activities that will lead to the launch of Hadfield, Marshburn and Romanenko to the ISS, on December 19.(NASA/Stephanie Stoll) #
At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Expedition 34/35 Soyuz Commander Roman Romanenko (foreground) and Flight Engineer Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency conduct a "fit check" dress rehearsal inside the Soyuz TMA-07M spacecraft, on December 7, 2012.(NASA/Victor Zelentsov) #
Chris Hadfield, left, chats with friends and relatives during the pre-launch preparations at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, on December 19, 2012. (AP Photo/ Maxim Shipenkov) #
Relatives and friends of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, pose in Hadfield helmet-and-moustache masks near an astronaut's hotel prior the launch of Soyuz-FG rocket in Kazakhstan, on December 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky) #
The Soyuz rocket is erected into position after being rolled out to the launch pad by train on Monday, December 17, 2012, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. (NASA/Carla Cioffi) #
Expedition 34 NASA Flight Engineer Chris Hadfield, NASA Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn and Soyuz Commander Roman Romanenko wave farewell from the bottom of the Soyuz rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, on December 19, 2012. (NASA/Carla Cioffi) #
The Soyuz TMA-07M rocket during liftoff at the Baikonur Cosmodrome on December 19, 2012. (NASA/Carla Cioffi) #
The Soyuz rocket lifts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on December 19, 2012. (NASA/Carla Cioffi) #
Lake Baikal, Siberia, Russia, photographed by astronaut Chris Hadfield, aboard the ISS, on February 26, 2013.(Reuters/Chris Hadfield/NASA) #
Chris Hadfield strums his guitar in the Cupola aboard the ISS, on December 25, 2012. Hadfield, a long-time member of an astronaut band called Max Q, later joined with the other five Expedition 34 crew members in a more spacious location to provide an assortment of Christmas carols for the public. (NASA) #
The moon is pictured above Earth in this photo courtesy of Col. Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency.(Reuters/CSA/Col. Chris Hadfield) #
Hadfield: When I look at thunderstorms from above, I see faces. What do you see in the clouds? (NASA/Chris Hadfield) #
Inside the Cupola of the International Space Station, Chris Hadfield, sits in for a refresher session with the controls of the Canadian-built Space Station Remote Manipulator System or Canadarm2, on February 25, 2013. (NASA) #
Hadfield: Bullet hole - a small stone from the universe went through our solar array. Glad it missed the hull. (NASA/Chris Hadfield) #
Hadfield: Belle Isle, Newfoundland - natural icebreaker at the mouth of the Strait. (NASA/Chris Hadfield) #
In the Unity node of the ISS, Expedition 35 Commander Chris Hadfield enjoys part of the "fruits of labor," so to speak, from a visiting spacecraft for the second time in a month. This particular grapefruit came by way of the Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft, which arrived on March 29, 2013, along with three new Expedition 35 crew members. The SpaceX Dragon-2 spacecraft delivered a nice assortment of fresh fruit along with more than a half ton of supplies and gear on March 3, when Hadfield was serving as a flight engineer on the Expedition 34 crew. (NASA) #
This nocturnal photo of London, England was downlinked by the Expedition 34 crew from the International Space Station, flying approximately 240 miles above Earth, on February 2, 2013. Chris Hadfield added a footnote: "London, on the Thames, from the city to the encircling motorway. Heathrow very visible on the (west)." North is at the bottom making west on the right in this image. It's the bright feature with dark parallel lines near the outer looping road. (NASA/Chris Hadfield) #
The islands of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, courtesy of Col. Chris Hadfield, aboard the ISS, taken on March 20, 2013.(Reuters/CSA/Col. Chris Hadfield) #
Astronaut Chris Hadfield works with Robonaut 2, the first humanoid robot in space, in the Destiny laboratory aboard the ISS. R2 was powered up so ground controllers could run it through a series of tests and configuration checks, on January 31, 2013. (NASA) #
Hadfield: The starkest of beauty, in Saudi Arabia, May 3, 2013. (NASA/Chris Hadfield) #
Hadfield: Antipodes Islands, looking like an island flag, April 7, 2013. (NASA/Chris Hadfield) #
Hadfield: Dubai, the Palm Island like a trilobite in the night. April 30, 2013. (NASA/Chris Hadfield) #
Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield holds a still camera while looking through a window in the Cupola of the ISS, on 7 January 2013. (NASA) #
Hadfield: Chesapeake to Cape Cod to Lake Huron - in a glance, so much history, geology and geography, May 9, 2013.(NASA/Chris Hadfield) #
Hadfield: How do you sprinkle salt and pepper without gravity? We squirt salt water and pepper oil. (NASA/Chris Hadfield) #
Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield watches a water bubble float freely between him and the camera, showing his image refracted, in the Unity node of the International Space Station, on January 21, 2013. (NASA) #
Hadfield: Clouds swoop in on Crimea, a white bird on the Black Sea. (NASA/CSA/Chris Hadfield) #
In support of the Blood Pressure Regulation Experiment (BP Reg), Commander Chris Hadfield is pictured after having set up the Human Research Facility (HRF) PFS (Pulmonary Function System) and the European Physiology Module (EPM) Cardiolab (CDL) Leg/Arm Cuff System (LACS) and conducting the first ever session of this experiment, on April 17, 2013. The test, which will be repeated using other crew members as well, will help to identify the astronauts who could benefit from countermeasures before returning to Earth. (NASA) #
Hadfield: New York City, incredibly clear, before the trees have filled with leaves, April 23, 2013. (NASA/Chris Hadfield) #
Chris Hadfield, seen on a video screen holding the new Canadian five dollar bill, made of polymer, while on a mission in space, as he takes part in a video conference during an unveiling ceremony at the Bank of Canada in Ottawa, on April 30, 2013. (Reuters/Chris Wattie) #
Hadfield: This is what happens when engineers turn to agriculture :) (NASA/Chris Hadfield) #
Hadfield: St Lawrence's mouth, where the Great Lakes pour into the sea, April 20, 2013. (NASA/Chris Hadfield) #
Hadfield: There is no try - only do. May the 4th be with you. (NASA/Chris Hadfield) #
The Russian Soyuz space capsule, carrying Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, U.S. astronaut Tom Marshburn, and Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, descends some 150 km (90 miles) southeast of the town of Zhezkazgan in central Kazakhstan, on May 14, 2013.(Reuters/Mikhail Metzel) #
A Russian Soyuz space capsule lands safely in central Kazakhstan, on May 14, 2013. (Reuters/Sergei Remezov) #
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield (left), Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko (center) and U.S. astronaut Tom Marshburn, pose for a picture after leaving the Russian Soyuz space capsule following its landing in central Kazakhstan, on May 14, 2013.(Reuters/Sergei Remezov) #
Astronaut Chris Hadfield gives a thumbs-up after his Russian Soyuz space capsule landed in central Kazakhstan, on May 14, 2013. The first Canadian astronaut to command the International Space Station (ISS) landed safely with two crewmates, wrapping up a five-month mission aboard the ISS. (Reuters/Mikhail Metzel)