The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has shared the first photos from the recently deployed meteorological satellite GOES-18.

The stunning images (below) were taken from the satellite’s Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) instrument as it orbited about 22,000 miles above Earth.

ABI monitors the Earth through sixteen different channels. Each of them detects energy with different wavelengths on the electromagnetic spectrum, which allows it to collect data on the Earth’s atmosphere, land and oceans. According to NOAA, data from ABI’s channels can be combined to create images known as GeoColor that look similar to what the human eye would see from space. Analyzing data in different ways allows meteorologists to highlight and explore different features of interest.

“ABI provides high-resolution images and atmospheric measurements for short-term forecasts and warnings of severe weather conditions,” NOAA explained on its website. “ABI data is also used to detect and monitor environmental hazards such as forest fires, dust storms, volcanic eruptions, turbulence and fog.

GOES-18 orbits the Earth just above the equator as it moves at speed as our planet rotates. This allows NOAA’s new meteorological satellite to continuously monitor the same area of ​​the Earth to track weather and hazards as they develop.

The GOES-18, which launched from the Kennedy Space Center on March 1, is the third satellite in the next-generation GOES-R series of NOAA and now works with GOES-16 and GOES-17, which were located in 2016 and 2018, respectively. .

NOAA’s new satellite monitors a vast area that includes the West Coast of the United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, Central America and the Pacific.

As it continues to calibrate its systems as part of post-launch testing procedures, GOES-18 has already observed storms in East Texas that caused heavy hail, strong gusts of wind and tornadoes, as well as wildfires and strong winds that blew dust in New Mexico. Dense fog was also observed in Chile and thunderstorms in the Yucatan and Florida.

NOAA recently said the launch of its new GOES satellites “forever changed the world of environmental monitoring and hazard detection in the Western Hemisphere.”

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