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NASA satellite peers at Hurricane Irma's churning eye

A weather satellite delivers a close-up look at the frightening eye of Hurricane Irma.

Sometimes the eye of a hurricane looks anything but calm. 

Hurricane Irma is tearing across the Atlantic Ocean, striking Caribbean islands and heading towards the US coast. It's classified as a Category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds near 185 mph (295 kmh). NASA's GOES-16 weather satellite captured a sequence of images that show Irma's eye swirling in frightening fashion. 

NASA's Short-term Prediction Research and Transition Center (SPoRT) posted a GIF of the eye to Twitter on Tuesday, noting how the late afternoon sun cast a dramatic shadow on the circular formation at the center of the dangerous storm. The SPoRT program is focused on sharing NASA's satellite data with weather forecasters. 

NASA launched GOES-16 in late 2016. It now watches Earth from about 22,300 miles (36,000 kilometers) away. NASA offers real-time imagery from its GOES satellites online, so you can follow the view of the storm from orbit.