Here’s the first image from NOAA’s new weather satellite

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On March 1, 2018, the GOES-17 weather satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. As a second generation GOES satellite operated by the The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this satellite and others will extend the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite weather forecasting and research system (GOES) until 2036.

The goal of this new generation of satellites is to improve weather, ocean, environmental and space forecasting by providing faster and more detailed data, real-time imagery and advanced monitoring. Recently, the satellite’s Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) made its debut by launching its “first light“, which turned out to be beautiful and breathtaking images of the Earth from space.

The image above was taken on May 20, 2018, where GOES-17 captured the sunset over Earth’s western hemisphere. This image was taken when the satellite was at a distance of 35,405 km (22,000 miles) from Earth and was presented in “GeoColor”, which captures the characteristics of the Earth’s surface and atmosphere with vivid details and colors familiar to the human eye.

Compared to previous GOES satellites, GOES-17 can collect three times more data at four times the image resolution and scan the planet five times faster than previous probes. These capabilities were put to the test when the ABI created its beautiful images of the Earth using two visible bands (blue and red) and a band of “vegetation” in the near infrared, and one of the infrared bands “long wave” of the ABI.

When combined into a “GeoColor” image, these bands provide valuable information for monitoring dust, haze, smoke, fog, clouds and winds in the atmosphere – allowing meteorologists to monitor and predict where severe weather will occur. It also allows scientists to monitor vegetation patterns to see how weather patterns can lead to increased dryness or the expansion of greenery.

It also results in images depicting the Earth in vivid and colorful detail, as you can see! The satellite is currently in its post-launch verification test phase, where controllers on Earth are busy calibrating its instruments and systems and validating them for use. An example is the imagery acquired by the ABI, which served as a preliminary check to ensure that the imaging instrument will work properly.

Other images included the image of a series of dynamic marine stratocumulus clouds (shown above), which was captured by the satellite’s ABI off the west coast of Chile in the southeastern ocean Peaceful. Once again, GOES-17’s improved resolution and sensitivity allow it to monitor clouds in our atmosphere with stunning detail and clarity.

GOES-17 also captured a deck of low-lying stratus cloud covering the southern California coast (above) and plumes of smoke created by wildfires in central and northern Saskatchewan, Canada (here below). These two images were also acquired by the ABI on May 20, 2018 and show how effective GOES-17 will be in monitoring weather conditions, fire events (i.e. lighting) and the resulting fires themselves.

Along with GOES-17, NOAA’s operational geostationary constellation also includes GOES-16 (operating as GOES-East), GOES-15 (operating as GOES-West), and GOES-14 – operating as standby in orbit. This constellation of satellites is currently in good working order and daily monitors the weather in the United States and around the planet.

Although this data is still preliminary and not operational, it provides a good overview of what GOES-17 can do. In the years to come, it and its third and fourth generation cousins ​​- GOES-T and GOES-U – will enable Earth observers to monitor weather, climate change and natural disasters with much more. details, enabling better early warning and response efforts.

To see more full-resolution images of the GOES-17 ABI, visit NOAA page.

Further reading: NOAA

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