Astronaut captures striking images of Scotland from space station

An astronaut orbiting the earth has captured some breathtaking photographs of Scotland.

Chris Hadfield, a Canadian flight engineer on the International Space Station, shared his striking images of the country with users on social media sites Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

On Wednesday evening, the astronaut tweeted seven images of Scotland after announcing to his followers: "With her currently clear late-February skies, today seems like a good day for pictures of Scotland. Agreed?"

The 53-year-old will become flight commander of the International Space Station next month when the crew of expedition 34 leave the satellite.

In recent months the astronaut has garnered almost 500,000 Twitter followers as he interacts with many people about life in space, from mundane everyday activities to watching beautiful images of landscapes and cities on Earth.

He also revealed on Wednesday that his family had roots in Scotland. In response to one follower he said: "My grandmother's family is from the Borders region. They sent a brave son to Canada in the 1800s, and then followed him."

The spaceman tweeted images of Fife, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and the Isle of Skye from his @Cmdr_Hadfield account.

First Minister Alex Salmond tweeted the astronaut, which may yet see him coming to Scotland when he is next back on Earth.

Mr Hadfield responded to the First Minister, confirming that he had previously visited the country.

Here are his striking images of Scotland:

"The low, late afternoon February sun shines across the skinny waist of Scotland, almost to Edinburgh." Scotland's 'skinny waist' from the International Space Station

"Isle of Skye, Scotland, with February snow on the peaks. Mist and mountains - a stirring landscape." The Isle of Skye from the International Space Station

"Scotland - from Prestwick to Glasgow, past Loch Lomond to Inveraray." Prestwick to Glasgow from the International Space Station

"The ruggedness of Scotland evident in the snowy hills and lochs north of the Firth of Clyde." Snowy hills and lochs north of the Firth of Clyde from the International Space Station

"The Scottish east coast as-seen from space, Montrose to Peterhead, Aberdeen at the centre." Montrose to Peterhead from International Space Station

"Glasgow and the bonnie, bonnie hills of Loch Lomond." Bonnie hills of Loch Lomond from the International Space Station

"Tonight's Finale: Edinburgh to Dundee, with the big Tay and Forth bridges visible. Save the rest for another day!" Edinburgh to Dundee from the International Space Station