This unusual high-oblique (from the side) panoramic view of the eye of Hurricane Emily was shot by the crew of the International Space Station while they passed over the southern Gulf of Mexico looking eastward toward the rising moon. The eye appears as a depression in the cloud deck, which stretches out to the horizon and fades into the limb (the bright blue cross-section) of the Earth’s atmosphere. At the time this image was taken, Emily was a strengthening Category 4 hurricane with wind speeds approaching 155 miles per hour. The hurricane was moving west-northwest over the northwest Caribbean Sea about 135 miles southwest of Kingston, Jamaica.
The 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season has been off to a record-breaking start. In the first week of July, Hurricane Dennis became the first Atlantic hurricane to reach Category 4 strength in July. In the past, such strong storms haven't formed so early in the hurricane season. Just a few weeks later, however, the record was broken again. With the formation of Hurricane Emily, 2005 became the first season in which there were two Category 4 storms before the end of July. Emily, which at one point seemed to be approaching Category 5 status, quickly superseded Dennis as the most powerful pre-August storm on record.