The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard the NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite captured this visible imagery of Hurricane Irma at 11:15 am (eastern) today, August 31, 2017.
According to the most recent report (11:00 am eastern) from NOAA's National Hurricane Center, Irma is located about 650 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands and moving toward the west-northwest near 10 miles per hour. This general motion is forecast through early Friday (9/1), followed by a generally westward motion on Saturday (9/2). Irma's maximum sustained winds have increased to near 100 miles per hour with higher gusts. The storm is forecast to become a major hurricane by tonight and is expected to be an extremely dangerous hurricane for the next several days.
Although true-color images like this may appear to be photographs of Earth, they aren't. They are created by combining data from the three color channels on the VIIRS instrument sensitive to the red, green and blue (or RGB) wavelengths of light into one composite image. In addition, data from several other channels are often also included to cancel out or correct atmospheric interference that may blur parts of the image.