The Most Advanced Weather Satellite Yet Just Dropped Its First Amazing Images

Your new lock screen photos have arrived, courtesy of NOAA's heavily hyped GOES-16 Satellite. The orbiter, launched in November 2016, can take high definition photos of Earth every 15 minutes and one of the continental US every five minutes, according to a press release. Its combined speed and resolution will help scientists make more accurate forecasts, and allow them to spot severe weather earlier.

Image credit: NASA/NOAA

But the COOLEST part is obviously the pretty pictures we'll get to see. Today, NOAA released the first photos from GOES-16, and they are spectacular.

Image credit: NASA/NOAA

This 16-panel, visible and infrared look at the Western Hemisphere is like pop art. Andy Warhol would be jealous.

Image credit: NOAA/NASA

Currently, GOES-16 is in a geostationary orbit 35,900km above Earth. In May 2017, NOAA will reveal the satellite's planned location — after that, it will launch GOES-S, the second satellite in a series of four future Earth-observing spacecraft that will extend the agency's weather-monitoring capabilities out to the 2030s. The launch date for GOES-S is TBD.

For now, NOAA scientists are celebrating their first step into the era of HD weather-monitoring.

"One of our GOES-16 scientists compared this to seeing a newborn baby's first pictures — it's that exciting for us," Stephen Volz PhD director of NOAA's Satellite and Information Service, said in a press release.

"These images come from the most sophisticated technology ever flown in space to predict severe weather on Earth," he continued. "The fantastically rich images provide us with our first glimpse of the impact GOES-16 will have on developing life-saving forecasts."

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