A powerful new weather satellite, Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R (GOES-R), lifted off from Florida’s Cape Canaveral on November 19th. It promises to give weather forecasters the best views ever of storms and weather patterns like hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, volcanic ash flows and wild fires . It has one awesome new feature that should give scientists amazing new scientific research- a lightning mapper.
A lightning mapper will allow for better severe storm mapping across the United States. It can give forecasters “situational awareness” to alert the public about impending severe weather before it arrives. The mapper will show flashes, updrafts, and more in great detail, taking 500 images per second. Cloud-to-cloud lightning, in-cloud lightning, and cloud-to-ground lightning can be tracked. An advanced baseline imager will help speed up the transmission of imagery back to earth up to five times faster than previous GOES satellites. One of the hopes with this new faster imagery is to be more accurate in when and where to call for evacuations relating to severe weather phenomena. It will also help pilots avoid bad weather, saving time and turbulence for airline passengers. A great way to entertain yourself while waiting for a flight or even satellite imagery is playing online games. I enjoy Betfair table games for online casino fun.
In addition to weather tracking and lightning mapping, the new GOES-R will monitor the sun, solar flares and how the sun’s electromagnetic radiation affects the upper atmosphere of the Earth. GOES-R also has a telescope that can monitor ultraviolet wavelengths on the sun. When solar events occur, the onboard magnetometer can predict the flow of charged particles near the Earth. In other words, it will help astronauts avoid radiation and other satellites protect themselves by moving or closing up. The telescope will also be able to estimate the temperature of the sun’s corona, helping scientists predict when the sun is likely to experience an eruption.
The satellite is valued by NOAA at $1 billion, was sent to an equatorial orbit at 22,300 miles high. Full images of the Western Hemisphere will be sent every 15 minutes and the United States every five minutes. Any regions where storms are active will have imagery updated every 30 seconds.
The entire GOES program will cost around $11 billion and include four satellites, a large system of land-based satellite dishes, and some new methods for crunching all of the data that will be sent from the satellites. The ultimate goal of the GOES program is to create better weather forecasting that will save lives. The current group of weather satellites in orbit are very old by scientific standards and in desperate need of replacing. This series of GOES satellites are just the first step toward creating a safer future where we can work around the weather phenomena that comes our way.