Looking into the eye of Yutu
For the CloudSat science team, getting a view inside the eye of a typhoon is not something that happens every day.
Earth's total surface area is 510 million square kilometers (197 million square miles); the satellite's cloud-penetrating radar sees just 1.4 square kilometers at a time. Meanwhile, the eyes of typhoons and hurricanes typically range from 30 to 65 kilometers.
For CloudSat, grazing tropical cyclones is relatively common. The satellite has come within 1,000 kilometers of tropical cyclone centres more than 10,000 times since the mission began in 2006. But for systems that reached typhoon strength, overpasses within 25 kilometers of the storm centre have happened just 42 times. Overpasses of major storms - those with sustained winds above 178 kilometers (111 miles) per hour—are even rarer. That has happened just 19 times.
"With so many near misses, it is a thrill to see right into the heart of a storm," said Natalie Tourville, a Colorado State University research meteorologist who has compiled a database of all of CloudSat's storm overpasses.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite captured the first image at 1:10 p.m. (05:10 Universal Time) on 28 October, 2018. Fifteen minutes earlier, CloudSat passed over the eye of Yutu, as the storm approached the Philippines. The second image shows a cross-section from CloudSat - how the storm would look if it had been sliced near the middle and viewed from the side.
View the full resolution image.
Credit: NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens, using MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS/LANCE and GIBS/Worldview, and CloudSat data provided by the CloudSat team at Colorado State University.