Behold the sublime beauty of Hurricane Isaac, sweeping across the Gulf Coast under moonlightS

When this photograph was captured this morning at 1:57 a.m. local Louisiana time, Hurricane Isaac had already made landfall once. The powerful storm had met with Plaquemines Parish, LA at 6:45 the night before, just west of the mouth of the Mississippi River, before marching slowly west, making landfall a second time near Port Fourchon, LA just minutes after this photograph was taken.

This stunning nighttime view of Isaac was captured by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite onboard NASA's Suomi-NPP satellite. It's a remarkable photograph (one that really deserves to be seen at full resolution), and a hair-raising reminder of how awesomely powerful nature can be.

As of this posting, Isaac has been downgraded to tropical storm status, having spent much of last night, this morning and early afternoon ravaging the gulf as a category I hurricane, with sustained winds in excess of 75 miles-per-hour. Though wind-speeds have decreased considerably, the storm still poses a significant threat to those in its path. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Louisianans are still without power, and regions of the state remain underwater.

[NASA]