Last Updated: 09/05/2012*

A Raytheon-built sensor captured this striking nighttime view of Hurricane Isaac as the storm whipped the southern United States in late August.

VIIRS Captures Hurricane Isaac
Click image for larger view (Credit: NASA)

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite took this picture shortly after midnight on Aug. 28 using its day-night band sensor. The sensor is carried aboard the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite, which was launched in October 2011.

The lights of U.S. cities are clearly visible north of the storm. To the east, the lights of Florida peek through a thin cloud layer. Tampa shines through a gap in the clouds.

VIIRS is giving meteorologists unprecedented views of developing storms during the 2012 hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. The sensor can map warm ocean currents that feed storms. It can also photograph the ultraviolent and infrared signatures of clouds, giving storm-watchers clues about whether they are strengthening or dissipating.

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