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NOAA’s Newest Satellite Sends Its First Pictures of Earth…and the Moon!

GOES-16 image of the Moon beyond Earth's limb taken Jan. 15. GOES-16 uses the Moon for calibration purposes. (NASA/NOAA)

GOES-16 image of the Moon beyond Earth’s limb taken Jan. 15. GOES-16 uses the Moon for calibration purposes. (NASA/NOAA)

America’s newest next-generation Earth observing weather satellite, NOAA’s GOES-16, has returned its first high-definition images of Earth—one of which even includes the Moon!

I mean look at that…hard to believe this picture of the Moon came from a weather satellite!

Crop of the Moon from the Jan. 15 GOES-16 image. (NOAA/NASA)

Crop of the Moon from the Jan. 15 GOES-16 image. (NOAA/NASA)

GOES-16 is the newest and most advanced member of the GOES family of Earth observation satellites used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to deliver detailed and up-to-date weather information to meteorologists around the country. Designed, built, and launched under NASA control, command of GOES satellites are handed over to NOAA after they reach orbit. At that time their designations change from a letter to number.

GOES-16—at the time GOES-R—was launched aboard a ULA Atlas V 541 from Cape Canaveral on November 19, 2016. I was on site for the night launch; check out the video below captured from about 5 miles from the pad.

The first GOES satellite was launched in October 1975.

From its position in geostationary orbit, 22,300 miles above the Earth, GOES-16 can provide a full image of the planet every 15 minutes—in 16 channels—and one of the continental U.S. every five minutes, and scans the Earth at five times the speed of its predecessors and at four times the resolution.

Full disk image of Earth from GOES-16 on Jan. 15, 2017. (NOAA/NASA)

Full disk image of Earth from GOES-16 on Jan. 15, 2017. (NOAA/NASA)

GOES-16 image of North America on Jan. 15, 2017. (NOAA/NASA)

GOES-16 image of North America on Jan. 15, 2017. (NOAA/NASA)

And this picture shows my neck of the woods, the U.S. northeast:

Northeastern U.S. from GOES-16 on Jan. 15, 2017. (NOAA/NASA)

Northeastern U.S. from GOES-16 on Jan. 15, 2017. (NOAA/NASA)

In addition to being a weather observation satellite, GOES-16 is also a communication satellite; data that is sent down to NOAA can also be disseminated to meteorologists with receiving capabilities in near real time.

GOES-16 will also observe space weather from the Sun, monitoring the conditions in space that could affect other satellites in orbit and electrical systems on the ground.

This is such an exciting day for NOAA! One of our GOES-16 scientists compared this to seeing a newborn baby’s first pictures — it’s that exciting for us. These images come from the most sophisticated technology ever flown in space to predict severe weather on Earth. The fantastically rich images provide us with our first glimpse of the impact GOES-16 will have on developing life-saving forecasts.
— Stephen Volz Ph.D., director of NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service

GOES-16 will become fully operational as GOES-East or GOES-West in November 2017.

Read more here in the NOAA news release, and see more images from GOES-16 here.

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About Jason Major

Jason is a Rhode Island-based graphic designer, photographer, nature lover, space exploration fanatic, and coffee addict. In no particular order.

Posted on January 23, 2017, in Earth and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Amazing photos! The new satellite provides such incredible imagery of planet earth and our moon. It’s really good that it also tracks weather patterns and communicates weather data. This is crucial information for us because of the recent temperature changes. We should track satellite data in detail and see what changes we can expect with our increasing industry. Satellite data will give us the most accurate picture of how much impact we have on Earths climate. If you are interested in satellite weather data feel free to visit our website and get some of our weather solutions. https://satellitephonestore.com/

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  1. Pingback: NOAA and NASA Open a New Set of Eyes on the Sun | Lights in the Dark

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