Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2011 August 27

Hurricane Irene Forms
Image Credit: GOES 13 satellite, NASA, NOAA

Explanation: How does a hurricane form? Although a complete picture is still being researched, insight into this process might be gleaned by watching the above time lapse movie of the formation of Hurricane Irene, a large storm system currently threatening the eastern seaboard of the USA. Starting as a slight pressure difference visible as nondescript clouds on the lower right, Hurricane Irene is shown growing into large spiraling storm system of low pressure off the coast of South Carolina. A hurricane is powered by evaporating ocean water, and so typically gains strength over warm water and loses strength over land. Besides Earth, other planets that have hurricane-like storm systems include Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune. Much remains unknown about hurricanes and cyclones, including the exact path they will take.

View this page (with external links) online at
http://apod.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap110827.html.

Tomorrow's picture: big blowtorch


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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman. Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA/GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.

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