Earth looks beautiful in full view of the NOAA-21 satellite | photos
What can you see in this latest global image of Earth? There are clear turquoise seas around Cuba, an agricultural fire in northern India and, of course, the rest of our planet, as shown in the first full image from NOAA’s newest Earth observation satellite NOAA-21.
The Soil images that make up this mosaic, and some close-ups, were taken on December 5 and 6 by an instrument called the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) aboard the satellite, that launched on Nov. 10 from Vandenberg Space Force Base on Nov. 10. (The spacecraft was earlier known as JPSS-2.) VIIRS collects images in both the visible and infrared light spectra, allowing scientists to see details of the Earth’s surface.
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VIIRS provides vital information to scientists about the Earth’s oceans, atmosphere and land. It can detect differences in the color of the ocean, tell scientists where phytoplankton are, or that dangerous algal blooms have formed along human-inhabited coasts. The instrument’s atmospheric data could help scientists predict and track storm movements.
NOAA-21 is the second operational satellite in a series called the Joint Polar Satellite System, which provides global, pole-to-pole imagery. The last JPSS satellitenow known as NOAA-20, launched in November 2017. Before that, the NOAA-NASA Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (Suomi-NPP), which provided a blueprint for the JPSS, was launched in 2011.
The satellites orbit from pole to pole, observing the entire Earth’s surface twice a day. It crosses 512 miles (824 kilometers) above Earth at a speed of 17,000 mph (27,360 kph), crossing the equator 14 times a day. And they all carry a VIIRS instrument.
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