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DSCOVR Captures Million-Mile View of a Typhoon

Artist rendering

Since February 2015, the Deep Space Climate Observatory, or DSCOVR satellite has been keeping on eye on Earth from a million miles away. The satellite’s primary mission is to monitor the solar wind, but it also sends back awe-inspiring photos, including this one focusing on Typhoon Bavi in the Yellow Sea.

View of Earth with white storm in middle

The image was taken on August 25 by NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC), which shoots with a four-megapixel camera and telescope. A joint effort between the US Air Force, NASA, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), DSCOVR is the first operational deep-space satellite. It is parked at what’s known as Lagrange point 1 (L1), where forces from the sun and Earth keep it in the perfect position to be able to observe the sun and the sunlit-side of our planet. EPIC shoots a new photo every two hours.

When it did so on August 25, it captured Bavi, a typhoon which, at the time, had maximum sustained winds close to 115 mph.

While the storm may look captivating from a million miles away, it was a different story up close. Bavi made landfall near the border between China and North Korea on August 27, with winds around 83 mph. It ripped off roofs and cut power to about 1,600 in North Korea and, at the time of this report, is still moving northeast across China. It was the eighth typhoon to be named this year and the strongest so far.