NOAA's new weather satellite sent back its first images and the Earth has never looked sharper.
22,300 miles above the Earth sounds like a long way, but from that distance the GOES-16 satellite is able to capture high-resolution images that are allowing us to see our planet in clearer detail than we ever have before.
Launched in November 2016, the new satellite is the first of four new satellites that will transmit images at a higher-resolution than previously possible. The resulting pictures are pretty to look at but that's not the point. These images could save lives.
"High resolution imagery from GOES-16 will provide sharper and more detailed views of hazardous weather systems and reveal features that previous instruments might have missed," said Louis W. Uccellini, Ph.D., director, NOAA's National Weather Service. "As a result, forecasters can issue more accurate, timely, and reliable watches and warnings, and provide better information to emergency managers and other decision makers."
Click on the images below to see them at a larger scale and fully admire their detail.