As Super Typhoon Trami migrates northwest across the Pacific Ocean toward Japan and Taiwan, astronauts on the International Space Station got quite the view of the intense storm.
European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst shared several pictures of the typhoon earlier yesterday (Sept. 27), which to him looked like water flushing down a drain.
"As if somebody pulled the planet's gigantic plug. Staring down the eye of yet another fierce storm," Gerst wrote on Twitter, along with the pictures. "Category 5 Super Typhoon Trami is unstoppable and heading for Japan and Taiwan. Be safe down there! #TyphoonTrami"
Gerst and the other five Expedition 56 astronauts are part of a network of observers keeping an eye on the intense storm. Another part of the network consists of Earth-orbiting satellites.
Also today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tweeted a short animation showing the typhoon in infrared light, courtesy of the Japanese Himawari-8 weather satellite.
"Less than ten days after Super Typhoon Mangkhut battered the Philippines and southern China, another powerful tropical cyclone is churning through the western Pacific Ocean," National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officials wrote in an accompanying statement. The agency warned that Japan's Ryukyu Islands and parts of Taiwan could be under threat from the storm later on this week.
On Monday (Sept. 24), the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite took a picture of Typhoon Trami in visible light. The images showed that Trami's eye of the storm back then was an astounding 37 nautical miles in diameter (nearly 43 miles, or 68 kilometers), NASA officials said in a statement. That's about three times the length of Manhattan Island.
Trami was first classified as a tropical storm on Sept. 21, then grew stronger as the storm traveled across warmer waters in the Philippine Sea, according to NOAA. Trami's winds have been measured as high as 150 mph (241 km/h). It was expected to reach minimum speeds of 157 mph, or 253 km/hr in the next day. As of 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT) yesterday, the maximum winds were about 104 mph or 167 km/hr, measured by the NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite, NASA officials said.
Get the Space.com Newsletter
Breaking space news, the latest updates on rocket launches, skywatching events and more!
Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for Space.com for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: https://qoto.org/@howellspace