A supercell thunderstorm is characterized by a sustained and powerful rotating updraft. These storms originate in unstable air accompanied by a particular type of changing wind direction at various altitudes in the atmosphere; a common combination supportive of supercells is a southerly or southeasterly wind near ground level and a southwesterly or westerly wind higher up in the atmosphere.
This combination of changing wind directions creates a horizontal rolling motion in the lower atmosphere. The same rapidly rising air motions that form the thunderstorm turn this horizontal rotation into a vertical rotation, and in the case of this particular storm, this rotation is spectacularly evident in the circular striations, or layers, visible in the cloud structure.
The structure of supercell thunderstorms allows rain and hail to fall well away from the source of the warm, unstable air fueling the storm, so these storms do not choke on their own rain-cooled air. In some cases this allows supercell thunderstorms to stay intact for hours, covering tens or even hundreds of miles. In the process they can produce giant hail, very high winds, and tornadoes.
On a mission to Jupiter with an arrival scheduled for July 4, 2016, NASA's Juno spacecraft captured this footage of the Moon orbiting Earth from a distance of about 600,000 miles. As it passed our planet, the spacecraft accelerated to more than 8,800 MPH in order to reach its final destination.
A recent rehashing NASA satellite data revealed that Earth set a new record for the lowest recorded temperature at -135.8 degrees back in August 2010. To be clear, that's the coldest temp ever recorded on our planet. Ice scientist Ted Scambos at the National Snow and Ice Data Center said that's lower than anywhere in Alaska.