Space shots: Our beautiful world from far above

Marvel at wondrous images of Earth captured by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who's becoming the latest commander of the International Space Station.

ISS Commander Chris Hadfield shot this picture of an enormous eddy off the Italian coast. Chris Hadfield, CSA, NASA

Today, the International Space Station gets a change of command as outgoing NASA Commander Kevin Ford transfers leadership of the space lab to Commander Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian astronaut to assume the role. Hadfield and crew will carry out the planned Expedition 35 mission (PDF).

Our gallery below looks back at some the extraordinary images of Earth Hadfield captured with dSLRs during his first few months aboard the space lab (he and Expedition 34 arrived in mid-December). The unique vantage point of the ISS delivers unforgettable vistas, from the astoundingly abstract Australian Outback to a sensational shimmer of gold on the waters of the San Francisco Bay.

Hadfield, a social-media maven, regularly shares spectacular images and other information with fans who follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

The Canadian commander isn't a stranger to showing us the lighter side of life far above the Earth. When he's not using the Canadarm2, running experiments, or taking on other important duties, the energetic astronaut taught us how space life changes simple tasks such as making a peanut butter sandwich or clipping fingernails.

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