Col. Chris Hadfield is not your typical astronaut (as far as astronauts can be seen as typical). The first Canadian to walk in outer space, Hadfield caused a sensation on social media channels on various occasions, be it after recording a song while surfing gravity in the ISS or when he showed us how to brush your teeth in micro gravity. He’s most popular posts on twitter, by far, were those where he shared his view from the ISS cockpit. In fact, Hadfield recently released a new book recently, titled You Are Here, which visually documents what it feels like circling the globe every 92 minutes. Out of the thousands of photos he took a couple of hundreds miles above Earth’s surface, only a handful were selected and presented in the book. A couple of these were showcased in a recent guest post of his for Mashable, some which are shown here on ZME Science, as well. Each photo is captioned with a brief description, authored by Hadfield himself.
Col. Hadfield wrote: “Riding a rocket into orbit is overpowering, taming a dragon crossed with dragster. Yet the second the engines shut down, along with the feeling of relief, every astronaut has an overpowering urge to get to get to the window and see the world.
In just 92 minutes we go all the way around, incredulously gazing on place after place, barely known and only dreamed of. The colors and textures pour underneath, a refilling kaleidoscope of delight. Over the months in space that followed, I took thousands of photos to capture and remember it. My book You Are Here is the best of those photos — my guided tour of our planet, as if we were floating and looking out the spaceship window together.
On a clear day you can see forever (or at least form Havana to Washington, D.C.).
A twist of cloud near Arica, Chile. You see these frequently in this part of the world because the Pacific is cold, the land is warm, and the currents and winds combine to form a cloudy vortex—clockwise here, because it’s the southern hemisphere. North of the equator, the spiral would turn counter-clockwise.
Detroit, Michigan, right, and Windsor, Ontario—two countries, one river.
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The Richat Structure in Mauritania, also known as the Eye of the Sahara, is a landmark for astronauts. If you’ve been busy doing experiments and haven’t looked out the window for a while, it’s hard to know where you are, especially if you’re over a vast 3,600,000-square-mile desert. This bull’s-eye orients you, instantly. Oddly, it appears not to be the scar of a meteorite but a deeply eroded dome, with a rainbow-inspired color scheme.
Great Salt Lake
Salt from evaporation ponds in Great Salt Lake, Utah, is used to produce a lot of the world’s magnesium metal. The largest saline lake in the western hemisphere attracts pastel-colored algae, brine shrimp and the birds that love them, but so far, just this one lone wolf.
Manhattan awake, 9:23 a.m. local time; Manhattan at rest, 3:45 a.m. local time.
The area around Perereira Barreto in Brazil, about 400 miles north of São Paolo, was originally settled in the 1920s by Japanese immigrants who worked on coffee and sugar planation along the Rio Tietê. But in the 1990s, the river was dammed to create a hydroelectric power plant, flooding and permanently submerging many farms and even a suspension bridge across the Tietê. Today there’s a new bridge, and from this angle, the body of water looks like a millipede.
The Nile, draining out into the Mediterranean. The bright lights of Cairo announce the opening of the north-flowing river’s delta, with Jerusalem’s answering high beams to the northeast. This 4,258 mile braid of human life, first navigated end-to-end in 2004, is visible in a single glance from space.