The Big Picture: A massive typhoon as seen from orbit

No, a black hole didn't suddenly open up on the Earth's surface. That's Vongfong, a gigantic storm (then a super typhoon) that has been causing chaos in the Asia-Pacific region for much of October. NASA astronaut Reid Weisman posted this dramatic photo as the International Space Station orbited overhead on the morning of October 9th, when Vongfong was getting close to Okinawa. It had been downgraded to "just" a category 4 super typhoon by then, but that still made it both enormous and dangerous -- the eye alone was about 30 miles across, and it had sustained winds of nearly 150MPH. As beautiful as this orbital view may be, it's comforting to know that Vongfong has since weakened to a tropical storm and isn't posing nearly as much of a threat.