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Typhoon eye seen from space is terrifying and fascinating

Astronauts on the International Space Station get an awe-inspiring look at Typhoon Maysak as it builds into a Category 5 super-typhoon.

Typhoon Maysak seen from space
Typhoon Maysak looks imposing from orbit. ESA/NASA/Samantha Cristoforetti

Typhoon season is off to an early start this year and NASA's eyes in the skies are getting a good look at a super-typhoon that formed over the Pacific Ocean. Typhoon Maysak is still churning away, but European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti caught an image of it on March 31 as it strengthened into a super-typhoon.

Cristoforetti, the first Italian woman in space, is a member of the Expedition 42/43 crew on the International Space Station. The photo shows a massive, swirling cloud formation from an upside-down perspective. The typhoon's eye is visible as a hole in the clouds near the center. Heavy rainfall and strong thunderstorms are hidden underneath the floor of clouds.

NASA's weather satellites are tracking Typhoon Maysak, monitoring its movement, rainfall and winds. NASA notes that Maysak produced maximum sustained winds near 150 mph. The space agency's Aqua satellite captured another view of the storm system, looking almost directly down, showing the wide scope of the typhoon over the ocean.

Currently, Typhoon Maysak is heading towards the Philippines, though the Pacific Disaster Center reports it is now entering a weakening phase.

A NASA satellite takes another look at Maysak. NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team