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Satellites and Space


    NOAA's Satellites - NOAA operates the nation's system of environmental (weather) satellites and manages the processing and distribution of the millions of bits of data and images that these satellites produce daily. The primary customer of satellite information is NOAA's National Weather Service, which uses the data to create forecasts for the public, television, radio, and weather advisory services. There are two types of satellites: the geostationary operational environmental satellites (GOES) for short-range warning and "now-casting". Click here to go to the NOAA page on geostationary satellites. Polar-orbiting satellites are used for longer-term forecasting. Click here to learn more about the polar orbiting satellites. Both types of satellites are necessary for providing complete global weather monitoring.

    Geostationary Satellites GOES satellites provide the kind of continuous monitoring necessary for intensive data analysis. They circle the Earth in a geosynchronous orbit, which means they orbit the equatorial plane of the Earth at a speed matching the Earth's rotation. This allows them to hover continuously over one position on the surface. Because they stay above a fixed spot on the surface, they provide a constant vigil for the atmospheric "triggers" for severe weather conditions such as tornadoes, flash floods, hail storms, and hurricanes.

    Polar Orbiting Satellites The POES satellite system offers the advantage of daily global coverage, by making nearly polar orbits roughly 14.1 times daily. Since the number of orbits per day is not an integer, the sub orbital tracks do not repeat on a daily basis, although the local solar time of each satellite's passage is essentially unchanged for any latitude. Currently in orbit we have a morning and afternoon satellite, which provide global coverage four times daily. Because of the polar orbiting nature of the POES series satellites, these satellites are able to collect global data on a daily basis for a variety of land, ocean, and atmospheric applications. Data from the POES series supports a broad range of environmental monitoring applications including weather analysis and forecasting, climate research and prediction, global sea surface temperature measurements, atmospheric soundings of temperature and humidity, ocean dynamics research, volcanic eruption monitoring, forest fire detection, global vegetation analysis, and search and rescue.


    NOAA's Remote Sensing Activities - Remote sensing is the science of remotely acquiring, processing, interpreting and presenting spatial data for objects and environmental processes using signals from a broad range within the electromagnetic spectrum. Remote sensing instruments are able to produce images of the physical properties and characteristics of objects without being in physical contact with them. NOAA's aircraft and satellites are common platforms from which the NOAA's remote sensing observations are made.

    Satellite Imagery of Significant Natural Events - This satellite imagery is available on the web from daily Monday through Friday. The events include, fires, floods, ice, oil spills, severe weather, snow, and other storms, as well as volcanic dust storms. You can see the earth from space and track significant natural events.



    Space Environment Center (SEC) Home Page - We all know that the Sun is overwhelmingly important to life on Earth, but few of us have been given a good description of our star and its variations.

    A Primer on the Space Environment - It has been realized and appreciated only in the last few decades that solar activity affects people and their activities. This site highlights information about the sun and some of the more important solar features: sunspots, coronal holes, solar prominences, flares, coronal mass ejections (CME’s), the area between the sun and the earth, solar effects at earth, aurora, proton events, and the effects of geomagnetic storms on much of our current technology.

    Today's Space Weather - Take a look at the weather on the sun and compare it with yesterday’s weather.

    Sunrise/Sunset and Solar Noon Calculator - Need to know exactly what time the sun will set on September 26, 2065? What was the the time of sunrise on your birthday? Just go to NOAA's Solar Calculator now available on the Web.

    Solar Images - The Space Environment Center holds the collection of solar images that are used to help forecast solar weather. These images are available on the Internet.

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November 30, 2010 1:58 PM