Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Astronaut Karen Nyberg captures Typhoon Haiyan from space

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NASA astronaut captures typhoon Haiyan over Philippines, from space
  • Karen Nyberg speaks to CNN after 166-day mission in space
  • Conducted experiments on astronauts' eyesight and bone density

Leading Women connects you to extraordinary women of our time -- remarkable professionals who have made it to the top in all areas of business, the arts, sport, culture, science and more.

(CNN) -- Floating high above the Earth, astronaut Karen Nyberg pointed her camera at a swirling white cloud spreading across the planet. Little did she know the devastation that was unfurling beneath.

This remarkable image of Super Typhoon Haiyan over the Philippines, was taken by the NASA astronaut during a five-month mission in space.

Typhoon Haiyan over the Philippines, as seen from space on November 9.
Courtesy Karen Nyberg/NASA

It was one of many specular photographs taken by Nyberg -- who in 2008 became the 50th woman in space -- and was retweeted thousands of times by her followers back on Earth.

Space chat with astronaut Karen Nyberg
Learn how to wash your hair in space

CNN spoke to the mechanical engineering professor earlier this year, in a live broadcast from the International Space Station.

Watch the full interview here

As she returned to Earth this week, we again caught up with the American astronaut to chat about her fascinating experiments and adjusting to life back on the blue planet.

CNN: What was it like, taking a photograph like that and realizing the impact it might have on Earth as you looked out the window?

Karen Nyberg: It definitely makes you think, because it's so beautiful when you look out the window. I couldn't even fit the entire storm in one picture. I used a 50 millimeter lens to capture as much as I could, but just knowing the devastation underneath this beautiful cloud is pretty sad.

Karen Nyberg heads back to Earth after a five-month mission in space, November 10.
Courtesy Karen Nyberg/NASA

CNN: You've also taken some other photographs which have been just as beautiful, and not caused such a devastating impact -- like sunrises over Earth.

KN: Yes, I love taking pictures and I enjoyed it more and more as the mission went on -- that's probably one of the things I'll miss the most. It was a great geography lesson for me too, to get these images from all over the world.

You see Earth a little differently -- in a strange way you feel closer to everybody
Karen Nyberg, NASA astronaut

CNN: Do you see the world in the same way, as before you went up as an astronaut?

KN: You actually do see it a little differently -- in a strange way you feel closer to everybody. I wish everybody could experience that.

CNN: What sort of experiments were you working on while you were up there?

KN: A lot of the experiments were being done on us -- looking at our eyesight and how that changes, and looking at our bone density and how that changes by the effects of micro gravity.

We also did a lot of experiments on fluids and combustion -- a lot of these are for developing systems to travel further into outer space, and a lot of them will really benefit what we're doing on Earth.

The Grand Canyon, as seen from space on October 19.
Courtesy Karen Nyberg/NASA

CNN: A lot of astronauts apparently experience long-term vision problems after returning to Earth -- is that something that's happened to you, and do you know what causes it?

KN: I had some vision changes during my stay on the space station, but it's coming back to normal again -- I think that's happened frequently to other astronauts. I haven't experienced long-term changes but we have done quite intensive studies on me and my crew mates.

CNN: What are other changes you've noticed since coming back to Earth?

Dusk settles on the Himilayas, November 4.
Courtesy Karen Nyberg/NASA

KN: It seems like I never left in a lot of ways -- it's almost a time warp. You get back to home and work, and it's like you were never away. I think I'll need to go back and look at my pictures pretty soon and reminisce.

To see more of Karen Nyberg's photographs from space, follow her on Twitter or like her on Facebook. Learn more about the history of women in space.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
July 15, 2014 -- Updated 2041 GMT (0441 HKT)
bbf
When Bobbi Brown set out to create her eponymous makeup line in 1991, she had one thing to her mind -- to make a lipstick that looked like lips.
July 15, 2014 -- Updated 0914 GMT (1714 HKT)
The Cornell educated executive, who is hotly tipped as the successor to magnate Steve Wynn, is about to unveil the latest Wynn Palace in Macau.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1154 GMT (1954 HKT)
From Coco Chanel to DVF, CNN takes a look at celebrated fashion designers and the iconic pieces which launched their careers.
June 25, 2014 -- Updated 1115 GMT (1915 HKT)
:KNOXVILLE, TN - MAY 28: Dolly Parton performs during a concert to benefit Dolly's Imagination Library & Dr. Robert F. Thomas Foundation at The University of Tennessee's Thompson-boling Arena on May 28, 2014 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images)NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 05: Debbie Harry of Blondie performs onstage at the Amnesty International Concert presented by the CBGB Festival at Barclays Center on February 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for CBGB)
When titans of music Dolly Parton and Debbie Harry perform at one of the biggest music festivals on the planet, Glastonbury, who will be crowned queen?
June 17, 2014 -- Updated 1349 GMT (2149 HKT)
2 Caption:Avignon, FRANCE: Serb artist Marina Abramovic performs in 'The Biography Remix' directed by Michael Laub from Netherlands, 10 July 2005 at the Benoix-XII house during the Theater Festival held in Avignon southern France. AFP PHOTO ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT (Photo credit should read ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)
CNN meets Serbian-born New-York based performance artist Marina Abramovic, as she embarks on the most controversial show of her career.
May 9, 2014 -- Updated 1325 GMT (2125 HKT)
This Mother's Day, we're celebrating the many women in the world who have provided care, love and guidance for children who are not biologically their own.
June 10, 2014 -- Updated 1506 GMT (2306 HKT)
She turned her bohemian beach style and love of ballet shoes into a billion-dollar brand. This week on Leading Women, fashion designer Tory Burch reveals her ultimate style guru.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1623 GMT (0023 HKT)
Meet Mo Abudu, the talk show host portraying a very different Africa. As a glamorous presenter, she also heads up Ebony Life TV network, based in Nigeria.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0936 GMT (1736 HKT)
A lone blonde woman, wrapped in nothing but a sarong, leads four camels and a little dog across one of the most inhabitable environments on Earth.
April 11, 2014 -- Updated 1216 GMT (2016 HKT)
Their job is capturing the most horrifying images on Earth -- keeping their eyes open, where others must look away. Meet Kate Brooks and Gerda Taro, the war photographers of today and yesterday.
March 25, 2014 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)
Gloria Steinem speaks onstage during Equality Now presents 'Make Equality Reality' at Montage Hotel on November 4, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
As Gloria Steinem turns 80, Kathleen McCartney highlights the remarkable life of the feminist so far.
February 26, 2014 -- Updated 1650 GMT (0050 HKT)
Former U.S. State Deparment Anne-Marie Slaughter says Brad Pitt is 'posterchild for engaged fatherhood'.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 0750 GMT (1550 HKT)
Ahead of the release of her 14th studio album, take a look at the remarkable career of Mariah Carey, who went from curly-haired girl next door to elusive chanteuse.
March 8, 2014 -- Updated 1632 GMT (0032 HKT)
CNN hosted a Tweetchat on gender equality with special guests including Nobel Peace prize laureate Tawakkol Karman. Here's what you missed.
March 13, 2014 -- Updated 1059 GMT (1859 HKT)
From shaving her head for climate change to opting for a sustainable business model, Vivienne Westwood is simply unstoppable.
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1502 GMT (2302 HKT)
In what would be a dream come true for her alter ego, Carrie Bradshaw -- Sarah Jessica Parker has turned her love of fashion into a new shoe range with Manolo Blahnik.
ADVERTISEMENT