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Typhoons and hurricanes are the strongest storms to disrupt our planet, so when you capture an image of one in the shape of a boxing glove, you know you're dealing with something big.
NASA's Terra satellite was passing over the northwestern Pacific Ocean when its Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument caught the spectacular moment.
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What did the MODIS show?
Propped aboard the Terra satellite, MODIS's image showed the powerful thunderstorms circling the center of the storm that makes up Typhoon Halong. Another formation of thunderstorms to the northeast of the center was also captured.
When combined, the storms share a very close resemblance to a boxing glove. The 'thumb' of the glove is the formation of thunderstorms to the northeast of the center.
NW Pacific Ocean - NASA Satellite Imagery Finds Typhoon #Halong Resembles a Boxing Glove— NASAHurricane (@NASAHurricane) November 7, 2019
Typhoon Halong has packed quite a punch and imagery from NASA’s Terra satellite found that the storm resembled a boxing glove. Story> https://t.co/ITOPBlX8Rppic.twitter.com/LASVwO7zFm
MODIS's instruments were able to snap the moment by using its usual microwaves method. In doing so, the satellite images revealed that an eye of the storm directly beneath these thunderstorms is circling the center.
As of Thursday morning Eastern Time, Typhoon Halong was located approximately 110 nautical miles west of Minami Tori Shima, off the coast of Japan. The maximum sustained wind power at the time was 90 knots (104 mph/167 kph).
The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) noted, "Halong will accelerate poleward [north] while gradually turning northeastward to east-northeastward. The environment will become more unfavorable with increasing vertical wind shear and cooling sea surface temperatures."
So even though the storm may seem ready to pack a punch, it's actually weakening and even turning into an extra-tropical storm.
Satellite images and instruments such as MODIS allow scientists to understand these phenomenal storms better and assist decision-making on the ground. Given the power and force behind these storms, it's fundamental to keep an eye on them, determine their trajectories, and understand their potential impact.