AstroTalk Episode October 6, 2016

Hurricane Matthew

3:01pm - 3:28pm

Hurricane Matthew is the news story these days. The big hurricane, which began off the coast of Africa, has moved across the Atlantic, where it has brought devastating winds and heavy rainfall through much of the Caribbean. NASA has been tracking the storms with its numerous satellites, providing much needed data on the progression of the storm. NASA maps show Matthew moving West through much of the Caribbean, and then unexplicably heading directly North, where it hit Haiti and many other Caribbean islands. The storm has been categorized as a category 4 storm, on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. The strongest hurricane is a category 5 on this scale. For parts of its journey, the storm has been clocked as a category 5. Through most of its journey, the storm has been the strongest at the eye of the hurrincane. There are times though, when a combination of the cyclonic counter-clockwise rotation of the storm, in combination with how this wind reacts with the topography of any particular area, causes the rainfall and winds to be higher just off the eastern edge of the eye. Matthew has caused devastation as it has made its round through the Caribbean. Much of the eastern coast of Florida and South Carolina has been evacuated as Americans await the awful wrath of Matthew to hit their shores. Also today, we briefly touched on a lovely photo of the Saturn ring system, taken by the Cassini spacecraft. In the photo, the tiny moon Atlas, which is farther out in its orbit than the tiny Pan, is slowly being overtaken in its orbit by Pan.