Infrared satellite image of Super Typhoon Vonfong’s massive eye on Wednesday. (CIMSS via Facebook)

Imagery from satellite (and astronauts) illustrates what a powerful storm Super Typhoon Vongfong became this week.

Vongfong is churning north in the western Pacific on Thursday, with winds of 150 mph and a massive, well-defined eye. The super typhoon is not only powerful but large, with gale-force winds covering around 340,000 square miles — about 70,000 square miles larger than the state of Texas.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center forecasts Vongfong to continue north toward Japan over the next two to three days. The dangerous typhoon is expected to weaken as it tracks north, though it will still be packing winds around 115 mph — the equivalent of a category 3 hurricane — as it impacts Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture, home of Kadena Air Base.

Powerful typhoon Vongfong approached Japan's Okinawa island chain on Saturday, packing heavy winds that disrupted flights and knocked out power. (Reuters)

From there, Vongfong is forecast to move into southern Japan from Sunday into Monday with 90 mph, category 1 winds. While Vongfong is expected to make a quick departure from Japan as it transitions to a non-tropical system, it will still bring heavy rain to Japan. Eight to 12 inches of rain is possible from the typhoon in the far southeast prefectures, with widespread totals of three to five inches across the southern half of the country.

Astronaut Reid Wiseman shared this incredible image of Vongfong from the International Space Station.


Super Typhoon Vongfong as seen from the International Space Station on Thursday. (Reid Wiseman via Twitter)

Super Typhoon Vongfong’s eye was estimated to be around 50 miles wide.


Infrared satellite imagery of Super Typhoon Vongfong on Thursday. (NOAA)

Enhanced satellite image of Vongfong on Thursday. (Copyright: 2014 EUMETSAT)

High resolution visible satellite image of Super Typhoon Vongfong on Thursday from NASA’s MODIS instrument. (NASA)

High resolution imagery of Vongfong’s eye on Wednesday. (NASA)

Animated infrared satellite imagery of Super Typhoon Vongfong on Thursday. (NOAA)

Image of Vongfong using the VIIRS “day-night” band — this image is lit entirely by moonlight. (NOAA/NASA and RAMMB/CIRA)

Vongfong’s cloud bands stretch from the northern Pacific east of Japan south into the Philippines.


Visible satellite imagery of Super Typhoon Vongfong seen. (NASA/Google Earth)

Super Typhoon Vongfong as seen from the VIIRS satellite instrument on October 7. (NOAA/NASA and RAMMB/CIRA)

High resolution satellite image of the eye of Super Typhoon Vongfong.(NOAA/NASA)

Triple whammy. The remnants of Typhoon Phanfone in upper right, Super Typhoon Vongfong south of Japan, and Tropical Cyclone Hudhud in the Bay of Bengal. (NWS Ocean Prediction Center)