Seen from afar, Earth looks like a watercolor wash of mainly blue and white with a little green sneaking through. Get a little closer, like from the point of view of the orbiting International Space Station, and you start to see more subtlety to the hues. Now throw in a really great camera, a steady hand and a quick eye and you get astronaut Scott Kelly's gorgeous photo series he calls "Colors of Earth."
Kelly shared a round of photos on Twitter showcasing some stunning shots from his yearlong stay on the space station. He's still up there and is scheduled to return to the planet's surface in March.
The colorful images cover a wide variety of landscapes. They represent views of white snow, sandy orange and yellow deserts, green seas and bright blue waters against a coastline.
The space station orbits at about 250 miles (400 kilometers) above Earth. It only takes around 90 minutes for the ISS to circle the planet. That means the window for taking photos of distinctive surface features is small and disappears quickly. Kelly's prolific tweeting of beautifully composed images shows he has a steady hand and a knack for the orbital hobby.
Kelly conducted a question-and-answer session on Reddit in late January. A follower asked him about his favorite things to do in zero gravity. "Sleeping, taking pictures of the Earth and getting to the end of a satisfying day of work," Kelly answered.