June 6, 2011
This view of supertyphoon Winnie was taken on August 15, 1997, as the storm swirled about 400 miles south of the southern tip of Japan. Sustained winds were 105 knots, gusting to 130 knots. This photo was shot on the Space Shuttle Discovery's twenty-third flight, as it glided by 170 miles above the sea surface on Orbit 123. On one pass the Discovery flew right over the eye; the commander commented that the eye was so large that it completely filled the window. The robotic arm crosses the top of the view. The cloud mass associated with Winnie covered thousands of square miles as this storm grew to supertyphoon status in the previous days, and raked across the Marianas Islands. A few days after this shot was taken, Winnie ploughed ashore on the coast of China, a bit south of the major metropolis of Shanghai, reportedly killing at least 100 people.
Topics: Vortices, Meteorology, Atmospheric sciences, Tropical cyclone, Storm, Eye, Fluid dynamics, Space Shuttle, Manned spacecraft, Environment