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 the author of the new book “Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos.” She is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.