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A Brand New “Blue Marble” View of Earth

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.


Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today's Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT's Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • delphinus100 August 8, 2012, 2:45 AM

    What longitude is it above?

    • Lemoutan August 8, 2012, 5:31 AM

      Heavens Above says it’s 1.8 degrees north of the equator.

      • delphinus100 August 8, 2012, 10:22 AM

        As a geostationary satellite pretty much should be. But I’m looking for degrees east or west…

        • Lemoutan August 8, 2012, 10:48 AM

          Ah. Right. Sorry. I pointed you at Heavens Above in case you’d not heard of it as a useful place for this kind of stuff. If you just want somebody to google “longitude MSG-3” for you, then – bippety boppety ting – 3.5 W is your answer. hth. :)

        • JonHanford August 8, 2012, 3:05 PM

          MSG-3 is currently at 3.5 degrees W longitude: http://www.satellite-calculations.com/Satellite/Catalog/38552.htm

        • delphinus100 August 8, 2012, 3:36 PM

          Thanks, gentlemen, that’s what I was after.

  • Pete Wheeler August 8, 2012, 6:23 AM

    Is there an image like this that shows Australia?

    • Jezz_X August 8, 2012, 10:08 AM
      • Dampe August 8, 2012, 3:02 PM

        Poor Tasmania always looses out… 😛
        Are these single shots or multiple hundreds of images? I think I prefer the natural look of the original Apollo photos.

        • delphinus100 August 8, 2012, 3:40 PM

          From geostationary altitude, it’s safe to say it’s a single exposure. (clouds wouldn’t piece together so well in multiple images, anyway…)

        • Peter Croft August 9, 2012, 2:39 AM

          Well, if you Tassie devils moved out form under the clouds … Anyway, if you want maps of Tasmania, just go look at some nudist sites ;-)) A Sandgroper.

  • Conley Shedrick August 8, 2012, 7:52 AM

    Africa! :) my home… 😀

  • Dan Sanderson August 8, 2012, 8:39 AM
  • Jon Souter August 8, 2012, 11:28 AM

    You can tell the instruments are already well calibrated – by how accurately they depict a huge bank of cloud over the UK and Scandinavia 😉

  • Kevin Frushour August 8, 2012, 1:14 PM

    Is there a date for the photo? I always like to work out what I was doing when whole-earth shots are taken.

    • muffie 1801 August 14, 2012, 3:07 PM

      7th August at 09:45 UTC