NOAA recently released new, amazingly detailed images of Earth. These pictures were taken by their most recent weather satellite that is orbiting the Earth 22,300 miles above us. The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration collaborated with NASA in order to work on this incredible satellite.
This new and improved satellite is known as GOES-16 and does not move in relation to one spot on Earth. The current GOES satellite is only able to measure five spectral bands, while the new GOES-16 can measure sixteen. The difference is obvious when you see how clear and high-definition the new pictures are. The satellite uses new technology that allows it to calibrate pictures using the moon. This has been compared to how a photographer uses a light meter when taking pictures.
Launched in December from Cape Canaveral, GOES-16 will be able to send back pictures of Earth as often as twice a minute. These pictures will be used to help forecast the weather and especially to watch severe storms and their progress.
Although these pictures are amazing, the satellite will not be fully functional and completely operational until later in the year. A decision that is currently being made is where to put the satellite - over the western or eastern coast of the United States. While this decision is being made, the text pictures show exactly how useful this satellite will be. It is expected that the exact location of the satellite will be announced soon this year, possibly by May.
Along with the excitement of GOES-16, is the knowledge that another advanced satellite is being worked on in Colorado. NOAA hopes that it will be in space and working as soon as nine months after GOES-16. Scientists are hopeful that these advances in technology will be able to significantly advance forecasting efforts.