Picture of the Day: An Astronaut's View of Hurricane Earl

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Captured on August 30, 2010, with a standard digital SLR camera by Douglas Wheelock, a NASA astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS), this photograph of Hurricane Earl shows the 17-mile-wide eye of the storm as it hovers just northeast of Puerto Rico. "With maximum sustained winds of 135 miles (215 kilometers) per hour, the storm was classified as a category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale as it passed north of the Virgin Islands," according to NASA, which called the view seen here "relatively placid."

"Hurricane Earl is gathering some serious strength," Wheelock wrote from his perch on ISS, NASA explained. "It is incredible what a difference a day makes when you're dealing with this force of nature. Please keep a watchful eye on this one ... not sure if Earl will go quietly into the night like Danielle."

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Image: NASA.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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