Hurricane Zeta spotted from the International Space Station (video)

As Hurricane Zeta churned toward the northern Gulf Coast today (Oct. 28), the International Space Station captured some incredible views of the massive storm from orbit.  

The space station passed over Zeta just before 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT) as its external cameras recorded video of the strengthening hurricane. Now a Category 2 storm, Zeta is expected to make landfall in southeastern Louisiana this afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). 

Video: Hurricane Zeta spied by space station in stunning time-lapse
Related: How Earth-orbiting satellites are tracking the 2020 hurricane season

While the International Space Station can only see the storm when its orbit passes above the swirling clouds, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are closely monitoring Hurricane Zeta with a suite of Earth-observing satellites.

NOAA's GOES-East satellite, which continuously monitors the U.S. East Coast from a geostationary orbit, captured a timelapse video of Zeta showing its movement  from Tuesday night (Oct. 27) into Wednesday morning (Oct. 28). 

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In an update issued at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT), the NHC reported that Hurricane Zeta was "an hour or two" away from making landfall, with the eye of the storm located about 125 miles (205 kilometers) south-southwest of New Orleans, with maximum sustained wind speeds of 105 mph (165 kph). 

"Recent data from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that Zeta's maximum winds have increased to 105 mph (165 km), with higher gusts, and the central pressure has fallen to 973 mb," the NHC said in the update, referring to millibars of barometric pressure. "It now appears likely that Zeta will maintain Category 2 intensity on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale until its initial landfall in southeast Louisiana later this afternoon."

Email Hanneke Weitering at hweitering@space.com or follow her on Twitter @hannekescience. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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Hanneke Weitering is an editor at Space.com with 10 years of experience in science journalism. She has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the Space.com team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time, Hanneke enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.