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.
REMOTE SENSING AND SATELLITE IMAGERY
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.
THE SPACE ENVIRONMENT AND THE SUN
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
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.