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.

2017 August 26

Hurricane Harvey Strengthens
Video Credit: NASA-NOAA GOES Project

Explanation: A large and dangerous hurricane has developed in the Gulf of Mexico. The featured time-lapse video shows Hurricane Harvey growing to Category 3 strength over the past few days, as captured by NASA and NOAA's GOES-East satellite. Starting as a slight dip in air pressure, hurricanes swell into expansive spiraling storm systems, complete with high winds and driving rain. Hurricanes are powered by evaporating ocean water, and so typically gain strength over warm water and lose strength over land. Much remains unknown about hurricanes and cyclones, including details of how they are formed and the exact path they will take. Hurricane Harvey, accompanied by a dangerous storm surge, is expected to make landfall sometime today in Texas.

Tomorrow's picture: heart chemicals

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
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