The highest resolution single-shot of Earth ever taken

Mesmerizing timelapse of the Earth is the highest resolution single-shot imagery ever taken of our planet from space.

The video and images were snapped by the Russian weather satellite Elektro-L during its orbit 36,000 kilometers above the equator. The images are in 121 megapixels; That’s 1 km per pixel. In the video shown above here, the images are in true color, but if you really want to see the vegetation pop out, watch it in the infrared– the vegetation will instead appear orange (video below).

Also unlike most NASA photos of the Earth from space, these images were snapped in a single shot. By contrast, NASA’s photos are usually composites of several photographs.

Not since The Blue Marble— the famous photograph snapped by Apollo 17 astronauts on their way to the Moon in 1972– has there been such a spectacular and moving single-shot view of the Earth.

via – Mother Nature Network

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We create our own stars – the satellites tracking U.S. weather

The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) brought online its latest weather satellite GOES-15, and pushed aside its predecessor GOES-11.

It will be tracking the weather for California, the west coast, Hawaii, and the Pacific Ocean. The image above is the first infrared image it sent to NOAA, which it will continue to do every “15-30 minutes, with full hemisphere scans every 3 hours until its retirement.”

The term GOES stands for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite. Which means that they sit, like a star, at the same place in the sky and a radio antenna can be permanently pointed at it to receive data.

There are currently four of them covering our globe:

  • GOES-12 – South America located at 60°W.
  • GOES-13 – East located at 75°W. It provides most of the U.S. weather information.
  • GOES 14 – in on-orbit storage at 105° W.
  • GOES 15 – West and Pacific Ocean located at 135° W.

They are up there to track half the world’s weather patterns and to “track space weather, oceanographic changes, forest fires and other hazards and provide scientific data collection and information for search and rescue operations.”

As the name implies, there are 15 or more of these satellites up in space. Some are online, one is in storage ready-for-action, others are floating space junk, and a few are floating nonchalantly but providing data (like one at the North Pole).

Next time you look up at the stars keep an eye out for one of these satellites and you can bet they will be keeping an eye on us.

For more information, science writer Gary Robbins has a profile on GOES-15 vs GOES-11.