New NASA Satellite Beams Stunning First Photos Of Earth

GOES 16 is the first spacecraft of the GOES R series of four new NOAA geostationary satellites, capturing higher resolution images of weather patterns.

The satellite, dubbed GOES-16, is created to snap high-definition images of the continental United States every 5 minutes and the full Earth every 15 minutes, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Monday, NOAA gave the public a first look at what the satellite, now called GOES-16, is sending back from 22,300 miles up. That allows it to produce pictures of the continental USA every five minutes, and full-disk views every 15 minutes. The goal is a more accurate forecast.

The satellite should help forecasters predict the weather with better accuracy.

GOES stands for geostationary operational environmental satellite.




The imager aboard GOES-16 is similar to upgraded cameras, also built by Harris Corp., that debuted on two Japanese weather satellites launched in 2014 and 2016.

One of NOAA's scientists compared the Earth views to seeing a newborn baby's first pictures. If GOES-16 goes East, GOES-S will go West, and vice versa. That's high enough to see a large chunk of the Earth in a single frame - not all of it, though. Practically, this means we'll get a fresh-full-disk view of Earth every 15 minutes, a new view of the continental United States every 5 minutes, and a new view of weather systems (like hurricanes) every 30 seconds. (NASA / NOAA Photo) This area of Mexico and Central America is seen from GOES-16 with a largely cloud-free view. That decision is due to be announced in May, and the satellite should be operational as either GOES East or GOES West by November.

On the right, an image from GOES-13 and on the left, the first public image from GOES-16, both taken January 15. According to NOAA, GOES-S is now being built and tested, and is expected to take up position to cover the rest sometime in the latter half of 2018.

The GOES-R series will return pictures of hotspots like hurricanes at a cadence of once every 30 seconds, an improvement from the five-minute rapid scans available today.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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