/>
X

Hurricane hunters witness Irma's ire from above

Bold airplane crews fly into the eye of Hurricane Irma as NASA satellites watch the monster Category 5 storm from above.

amandakooser.jpg
Amanda Kooser
usafirmamoon
1 of 13 Air Force Reserve

Moonlight inside the hurricane

Hurricane hunters boldly fly above and into storms to gather important weather data. The US Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters squadron refers to this as "tropical storm reconnaissance." The crews record wind speeds and monitor the storm's rotation, temperature and pressure. They also capture spectacular hurricane photos.

The Air Force Hurricane Hunters shared this photo on Sept. 6 showing the moon lighting up the inside of Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 monster storm. The team's official name is the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron.

noaagoes16
2 of 13 NOAA/NASA

Satellite view

NOAA and NASA's GOES-16 satellite has a prime view of Hurricane Irma as it rampages across the Atlantic Ocean. This image shows the hurricane on Sept. 6 as it nears the Caribbean island of Anguilla.

usafirmasunflare
3 of 13 Air Force Reserve

Sun lights up Irma's eye

US Air Force Hurricane Hunters caught a glimpse of the sun sending beams of light over the edge of Hurricane Irma's eye on Sept. 6. 

usafirmasunset
4 of 13 Air Force Reserve

Sunset in a hurricane

This panoramic view shows the sun setting in shades of purple and pink near Hurricane Irma. It's a look out from the flight deck of a WC-130J Super Hercules aircraft used by the US Air Force Reserve's Hurricane Hunters.

usafirmaplane
5 of 13 Air Force Reserve

Two planes pass by Irma

Two planes used by the US Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters pass each other on Sept. 4. as their missions to study Hurricane Irma briefly overlap. 

usafirmastadium
6 of 13 Air Force Reserve

A stadium in Irma's eye

Hurricane researchers refer to the bowl-like formation inside a hurricane's eye as the "stadium effect." This US Air Force Reserve photo from Sept. 5 shows the "stadium" wall and floor created by Hurricane Irma.

noaairmasun
7 of 13 Jessica Williams (NOAA/AOC)

Outside Irma

Along with the US Air Force Reserve, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also fields a team of airborne hurricane hunters. 

NOAA Hurricane Hunter Jessica Williams snapped this photo from outside of Hurricane Irma on Sept. 6. Williams is a meteorologist and flight director.

noaairmasideview
8 of 13 Lt. Tanner Sims, NOAA

A side view of Irma

Part of NOAA's hurricane-hunting Gulfstream IV jet, nicknamed "Gonzo," is visible in this photo from Sept. 5. The view shows Hurricane Irma's northwest side

nasairmasat
9 of 13 NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

NASA's Aqua satellite looks down

Multiple satellites are keeping an eye on massive Hurricane Irma from above. This color image comes from NASA's Aqua satellite. The space agency released it on Sept. 7. The photo shows the hurricane moving over Puerto Rico

noaairmaplane
10 of 13 CDR Justin Kibbey/NOAA

Inside Irma's eye

The "stadium effect" is visible in this NOAA photo from inside Hurricane Irma's eye, taken on Sept. 5. The plane's propellers add an interesting sense of perspective to the view.

nasairmabarbuda
11 of 13 NASA/NOAA/UWM-CIMSS, William Straka III

Barbuda in the eye of the storm

NASA and NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite sent back this unusual infrared view of Hurricane Irma with the eye of the storm sitting exactly over the island of Barbuda on Sept. 6. 

nasairmaiss
12 of 13 NASA

The view from the space station

Astronauts on board the International Space Station got a dramatic look at Hurricane Irma on Sept. 5. 

nasanoaatwohurr
13 of 13 NOAA/NASA Goddard Rapid Response Team

Two hurricanes

Hurricane Irma isn't the only threat in the Atlantic Ocean. Two more hurricanes, Jose and Katia, are active as of Sept. 7. This NASA and NOAA Suomi NPP satellite image shows Irma on the left and Jose on the right on Sept. 6. 

More Galleries

Nintendo Switch: The 37 best games to play in 2021

More Galleries

Nintendo Switch: The 37 best games to play in 2021

38 Photos
2022 Genesis G80 Sport sharpens up

More Galleries

2022 Genesis G80 Sport sharpens up

4 Photos
2020 Perseid meteor shower photos shine bright in a dark year

More Galleries

2020 Perseid meteor shower photos shine bright in a dark year

14 Photos
Mazda MX-30 EV has suicide doors and cork interior trim

More Galleries

Mazda MX-30 EV has suicide doors and cork interior trim

46 Photos
2021 BMW 330e: A plug-in powerhouse

More Galleries

2021 BMW 330e: A plug-in powerhouse

51 Photos
Redesigned Kia Sportage: Movin' on up

More Galleries

Redesigned Kia Sportage: Movin' on up

8 Photos
2022 Audi RS E-Tron GT is an EV that slaps

More Galleries

2022 Audi RS E-Tron GT is an EV that slaps

46 Photos