Hurricane Dorian: NASA Video of Its Massive Spiral Is Seen From the ISS
The International Space Station flew directly over Hurricane Dorian Monday, capturing an aerial view of the eye of the storm covering the Bahamas. Using external high-definition cameras, NASA TV aired the live feed — watch the moments in the video above — from the ISS, as the storm threatened to move north toward the United States.
The view of the storm, captured 261 miles from Earth, could barely fit within the frame, with a glimpse of the shallow waters surrounding the Bahamas faintly appearing beyond the western border of the hurricane.
NASA satellites are tracking the storm, estimating that rain water levels have exceeded 24 inches in parts of the Bahama and Abaco Islands by Tuesday morning, according to NASA. Meanwhile, the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Emergency Mapping Service has been activated in order to create flood maps based on satellite data, according to the ESA.
Hurricane Dorian continues to affect the Grand Bahama Island, with life-threatening storm surge and dangerous winds expected to hit areas of Florida’s east coast, as well as the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina on Wednesday, according to the National Hurricane Center. Water levels in those areas are also expected to rise ahead of the forthcoming winds with a flash flood threat along the Florida peninsula, the NHC added.
Astronauts on board the ISS have also been tweeting their view of the hurricane, with Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano and Christina Koch snapping images of the hurricane’s massive spiral hovering above the Earth’s surface.
“Dorian, its majestic power visible even as we fly away,” Parmitano commented on Twitter on Tuesday.
The ISS will fly over the storm again on Wednesday for 11 minutes, with another livestream directly from the station scheduled at 9:48 a.m. Eastern.
Dorian was declared a hurricane on August 28, shortly before the tropical storm flooded Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
NASA has used imagery from the ISS to track storms in the past, flying over the Gulf of Mexico in October of 2018 to capture footage of category 3 Hurricane Michael, as well as Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico earlier in September 2017. In October 2012, the ISS also flew over Hurricane Sandy, which resulted in 147 deaths in the US, Canada, and the Caribbean, 48 of which were in New York alone.
The ISS’ High-Definition Earth Viewing cameras — seen above — were first activated in April 2014, with four video cameras kept inside a pressurized and temperature-controlled enclosure as each faces a different perspective of Earth from above. It looks a little like a space printer.
Although the cameras supply footage from space, their main purpose is to monitor the effects of the space environment on HD video cameras.