High-definition from the heavens: NASA's new satellite sends back stunning images

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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launched a new weather satellite back in November last year. That craft, called GOES-R, is now online and sending back images. The newest and most advanced weather satellite keeping watch over America is GOES-16. To show off the impressive technological feats of GOES-16, NOAA has released a number of images taken by the satellite's Advanced Baseline Imager instrument.

The ABI camera system is GOES-16's main instrument for tracking weather. The continental US can be completely scanned in as little as five minutes. That's five times faster than older satellites.

The satellite is in a geostationary orbit over North and South America at an altitude of around 35,888 km. That's high enough to see a large chunk of the Earth in a single frame - not all of it, though.

"The release of the first images today is the latest step in a new age of weather satellites," the agency said in a press release. "It will be like high-definition from the heavens."

The Blue Planet

The Blue Planet

This composite colour full-disk visible image was created using several of the 16 spectral channels available on the GOES-16 Advanced Baseline Imager instrument. The image shows North and South America and the surrounding oceans.

IMAGE credit: NASA

Cloud cover on the planet

Cloud cover on the planet

This image clearly shows the significant storm system that crossed North America that caused freezing and ice that resulted in dangerous conditions across the United States resulting in loss of life.

IMAGE credit: NASA

Rotating at 1,673 kmph

Rotating at 1,673 kmph

The Saharan Dust Layer can be discerned in the far right edge of this image of Earth. This dry air from the coast of Africa can have impacts on tropical cyclone intensity and formation.

IMAGE credit: NASA

Third rock from the sun

Third rock from the sun

GOES-16 captured this view of the moon while looking across the surface of the Earth. The satellite uses the moon to calibrate its imaging device in much the same way a photographer uses a light meter.

IMAGE credit: NASA

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