NOAA’s new GOES-16 weather satellite sends back stunning first images

Ryan Whitwam
NASA and NOAA launched a new weather satellite back in November of 2016 called GOES-R. That craft is now online and sending back images, and it’s got a new (official) name. The newest and most advanced weather satellite keeping watch over America is GOES-16. To show off the impressive technological feats of GOES-16, NOAA has released a number of images taken by the satellite’s Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) instrument.
The other satellites in the GOES fleet are based on technology developed in the 1990s, so GOES-16 is a huge leap forward. It’s in geostationary orbit over North and South America at an altitude of 22,300 miles (around 35,888 km). That’s high enough to see a large chunk of the Earth in a single frame — not all of it, though. The above image is a composite.
The ABI camera system is GOES-16’s main instrument for tracking weather. Like older GOES satellites, GOES-16 uses images of the moon (which doesn’t change over time) to calibrate its sensors. It has four times the resolution of past weather satellite imagers, and it can capture a full image of the Earth every 15 minutes. The continental US can be completely scanned in as little as five minutes. That’s five times faster than older satellites. Check out the gallery of newly released images below. They were all taken on January 15th, 2017.
The scans it produces aren’t just in the visible spectrum we like to ogle. The ABI supports two visible, four near-infrared, and 10 infrared channels. This gives meteorologists ample data to work with while developing forecasts and predicting the path of severe weather. There are also instruments designed to track lightning activity and solar radiation on the satellite.
GOES-16 is fully online now, but it’s not at its final operational coordinates. In May, NOAA will announce the final location for GOES-16. At that time, it will be maneuvered into position as either GOES-East or GOES-West. It should be in its final orbit by November of this year.
NOAA is already making plans for the next GOES satellite, which will launch as GOES-S. This craft is already undergoing environmental testing at Lockheed Martin’s Colorado facility. It will be launched in about a year as GOES-17 and will eventually take up a position opposite from the one assigned to GOES-16.
NOAA’s new GOES-16 weather satellite sends back stunning first images Reviewed by Bizpodia on 18:28 Rating: 5

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