GOES-16, new satellite views Earth for first time

Melba UnderwoodJan 24, 2017

The GOES-16 satellite releases the first photos from NOAA's latest weather satellite.

This is such an exciting day for NOAA!

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).

The first images of the GOES 16, formerly the GOES R were released this morning.

Compare this to the Full Disk image from the GOES-13 satellite, which was launched in 2010 and has been serving as the "GOES-East" satellite, returning imagery of the eastern half of North America, the Atlantic Ocean and all of South America, ever since. GOES-16's updated instruments will enable it to take photographs with an image resolution four times higher than those taken by existing GOES spacecraft, the agency added. At 22,000 miles, the satellites orbit at exactly the speed the Earth rotates, meaning they stay over the exact same point on Earth continuously.

GOES-16 captured this view of the moon as it looked across the surface of the Earth on January 15. NOAA  NASA

GOES-16's Full Disk image from the Advanced Baseline Imager, at 1:07 p.m. EST, Jan 15, 2017.

Along with the Advanced Baseline Imager, the new series of GOES weather satellites host lightning detectors and sensors to monitor solar activity and space weather. "The fantastically rich images provide us with our first glimpse of the impact GOES-16 will have on developing lifesaving forecasts". That's high enough to see a large chunk of the Earth in a single frame - not all of it, though.

From its central location, GOES-16 captured this image of the west coast of the United States and the Baja Peninsula in Mexico.

The satellite is still being tested and calibrated and won't enter full-time service in the GOES weather satellite fleet until November.

GO HERE to view the full gallery. Practically, this means we'll get a fresh-full-disk view of Earth every 15 minutes, a new view of the continental USA every 5 minutes, and a new view of weather systems (like hurricanes) every 30 seconds. It may become the new GOES-East or the new GOES-West satellite. 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.

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