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Hurricane Gonzalo pictured from ISS as storm hits Bermuda

Hurricane Gonzalo Credit: Alexander Gerst

Astronaut Alexander Gerst has shared incredible pictures of Hurricane Gonzalo as the huge storm bears down on Bermuda.

The powerful Category 3 storm could raise coastal seas as much as 10 feet (3 metres).

Hurricane Gonzalo Credit: Alexander Gerst

Gonzalo has already begun to pound Bermuda with wind and heavy surf, bearing down on the tiny British territory.

The storm was centered about 100 miles (165 kilometres) south-southwest of Bermuda this afternoon with top sustained winds of 125 mph (205 kph), according to the US National Hurricane Centre in Miami.

Gonzalo's eye is expected to pass close enough to be considered a direct hit.

Hurricane Gonzalo Credit: Alexander Gerst

Water vapour found on planet 124 light years away

Water vapour has been found in the atmosphere of a planet four times larges than Earth orbiting a star 124 light years away.

The discovery on the distant "exoplanet" called HAT P-11b was made after scientists analysed the data from three space telescopes and detected traces of water vapour and hydrogen.

The planet orbits a star in the constellation Cygnus, nearly 729 trillion miles from Earth. It is though to have a rocky core wrapped in a thick gaseous envelope, with surface temperatures of more than 600C. US astronomer Professor Drake Deming, from the University of Marlyland who led the research published in Nature journal said:

The water molecule is widespread in the universe. Wherever you have hydrogen and oxygen, it naturally forms. Even some sun spots are cool enough to contain water vapour, although obviously it's far too hot for life on the sun. Our ideas about the formation of planets have been developed to match our solar system, and we don't know whether other planetary systems behave the same way.

We want to test the fundamental question of whether small planets are rich in heavy elements, like the oxygen in water vapour.

– US astronomer Professor Drake Deming

Water is a pre-requisite for life, which is why finding water on planets holds such interest.

The discovery is a leap forward in the study of distant "exoplanets" that may in future uncover evidence of alien life.

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