UK & World News
Astronaut Tweets Photos From Space Station
A Canadian astronaut has tweeted a series of photos while orbiting the Earth in the International Space Station.
Commander Chris Hadfield posted photos from around the world and on board the structure.
As word spread of his amazing photos, his Twitter follower count shot skyward.
On Sunday night Cmdr Hadfield had more than 89,000 followers on his @Cmdr_Hadfield account.
The astronaut described looking at Earth as a work of art, describing part of Italy as a diamond and confessed to being enthralled by swirling patterns in the seas.
"So much of the world's beauty is simply art itself," he tweeted.
A former Canadian Air Force fighter pilot, he arrived at the ISS on December 21 aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket.
Cmdr Hadfield has flown into orbit twice before on the space shuttle, as a mission specialist aboard STS-74 and STS-100, and was the first Canadian to walk in space.
He has informed his Twitter followers of a number of differences between Earth and his temporary home - hinting that it is a good place for heavy snorers.
"In space we snore much less - with no weight on sinuses and airways it makes for a quieter night. Many subtle changes up here," he tweeted.
The ISS orbits the Earth every 92 minutes at a speed of 8km a second.
He explained that the ISS is being used as a "testbed" for interplanetary travel, and water recycling and high temperature experiments are being undertaken in weightlessness.
The Canadian also kept sci-fi fans happy by tweeting a photo of himself being held by Star Trek's Captain Kirk, played by actor William Shatner.
Cmdr Hadfield is being kept informed of events on Earth while orbiting.
On Sunday night he tweeted another photo, in support of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team, after a players' strike was resolved.
He wrote in the caption: "With the lockout finally ending and a 50-game NHL season about to begin, I am ready to cheer from orbit. Go Leafs!"
Cmdr Hadfield was emailed from a Canadian Sunday political television show, CTV Question Period, asking why he was tweeting the mission.
He replied: "Because this is too good and wondrous an experience not to share. Twitter lets everyone see and experience it as I am, real-time. Great to have so many people aboard!
"The response is a clear indication of how people actually feel about exploration and opportunity, when the barriers of jargon and delay are removed."
He was asked about the change of going into space. He replied: "It takes several days for the human body to adapt to as bizarre a new condition as weightlessness, with nausea, change in digestion, fluid shift from legs to head causing congestion and facial swelling.
"And the complete change of balance versus vision. But I'm through that - I'm a Spaceling now."
A keen techno fan, Cmdr Hadfield was also asked if he would try Google Hangout from space.
He replied: "Sure, though you can't hang in space. Everything floats!"