The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s newest and most advanced weather satellite just returned its first image — a full color scan of the Western hemisphere.
Taken on 5 May, and released to the general public 11 May, it’s the primary of many images to come back from a satellite that can help monitor severe weather, pollution, wildfires, and climate change for the following decade.
The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (Goes) T satellite launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on 1 March and from there made its strategy to geostationary orbit, 35,888 kilometers above the equatorial Pacific ocean.
At that altitude and latitude, Goes-18 orbits at the identical rate because the Earth’s rotation, allowing it to maintain a continuing position relative to the bottom below.
Sitting at 137.2 degrees West longitude, GOES-18 will serve because the more westerly partner to GOES-16, already monitoring the eastern reaches of the Western hemisphere from its orbit over South America at 75.2 degrees West longitude. Together, they’ll monitor severe weather and climate from West Africa to eastern Australia, and Alaska to Antarctica.
The colour image GOES-18 produced is definitely a synthesis of 16 different images, each taken in considered one of the 16 different channels of the infrared and visual light GOES-18 uses to observe the Earth.
GOES-18 Monitors the Earth across 16 different channels of visible and infrared wavelengths
Monitoring the 16 channels allows GOES-18 to supply data to forecasters to assist predict severe weather, monitor for fog that may affect ocean and air travel, and detect smoke from wild fires. The satellite also carries a lightning mapper for monitoring lightning strikes, and can help NOAA monitor the consequences of climate change.
GOES-18 will replace GOES-17 sometime in 2023. GOES-17 suffered a cooling system malfunction that stops the satellited from sufficiently cooling down its infrared detectors, and GOES-18 will assist the ailing satellite with observations throughout 2022 before stepping in to switch it outright.
Goes-18 is the third of 4 satellites planned for the Goes-r series. The fourth, Goes-U, is planned for launch sometime in 2024, though that satellite will deal with space weather somewhat than terrestrial weather.
The Goes-r series satellites will serve into the early 2030s, when NOAA plans to switch them with the GeoXO series, a next generation constellation of weather satellites already under development as a joint project between Nasa and NOAA.