A Brand New “Blue Marble” View of Earth

by Nancy Atkinson on August 7, 2012

Europe’s latest geostationary weather satellite has captured its first image of Earth, and it’s a beauty! The Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) instrument on the Meteosat Second Generation-3 (MSG-3) satellite was launched on July 5, 2012, and has since been in the commission stage. ESA says it will still be a couple of months before it is ready for operations.

SEVIRI provides enhanced weather coverage for Europe and Africa in order to improve very short range forecasts, in particular for rapidly developing thunder storms or fog. It scans Earth’s surface and atmosphere every 15 minutes in 12 different wavelengths, to track cloud development. SEVIRI can pick out features as small as a kilometer across in the visible bands, and three kilometers in the infrared.

MSG-3 is the third in a series of four satellites. In addition to its weather-watching mission and collection of climate records, MSG-3 has two secondary payloads.

The Geostationary Earth Radiation Budget sensor measures both the amount of solar energy that is reflected back into space and the infrared energy radiated by the Earth system, to better understand climate processes.

A Search & Rescue transponder will turn the satellite into a relay for distress signals from emergency beacons.

You can see a high resolution version of the image from ESA here.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

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