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NASA snaps photos of the eye of Super Typhoon Nuri

Between Nov. 1 and Nov. 3, NASA's Aqua satellite snapped photos from space as the tropical cyclone Nuri turned into a Super Typhoon and developed an eye near Okinawa, Japan.

When the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite took a picture of Super Typhoon Nuri on Nov. 1 at 12:30 a.m. EDT (shown above on the left), the storm had not yet developed an eye. But when the instrument passed over Nuri again on Nov. 3 at 12:20 a.m. EDT, the eye of the storm could clearly be seen (shown above on the right).

Later Monday morning, Nuri's maximum sustained winds reached 178.4 mph, which turned it into a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale -- a 1-5 rating system based on a hurricane's sustained wind speed. It has since been downgraded to a Category 4.

The typhoon was centered about 591.5 miles southeast of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, traveling northeast. The storm is currently expected to pass west of Iwo Jima on Nov. 5.

The storm was one of the most powerful tropical cyclones of 2014. It is forecasted to stay southeast of the Japanese mainland, but could send high waves to the small islands due south of Tokyo on Thursday.