By: Jacob Priest of AE4TS
Why Satellites are Awesome
Satellites are wonderful tools that help us to understand some of the astronomy, meteorology, oceanography and the geography surrounding our planet. They can help put together the bigger picture to help us further our understanding of our everyday view of life. When you piece it all together we can see how the Earth acts as a Sphere in perfect coalescing perpetual motion. Satellites also give scientist real-time data from environments that are otherwise extremely remote such as south pacific islands, the bottom of the oceans, or even very high cloud tops way up in the atmosphere. There is a set of about 120 satellite’s orbiting earth right now dedicated to tracking weather and climate patterns and Earths overall activity.
One of the satellites currently orbiting Earth called Swovey is named after a NASA meteorologist scientist and orbits the Earth 14 times a day. Swovey is about the size of a small school bus and helps keep watch on the suns energy output that effects things like weather patterns in a reactively fast time period. Swovey is equipped with a set of sensors called “SEIRS” that can detect energy invisible to the human eye. With one example being the heat off the surface of the earth very accurately in infrared. This helps us to understand the impact of the suns energy on the Earths equator.
Another one of NASA’s satellites named Aqua tracks the interwoven relationship between water vapor and sunlight. We can see from satellite data that off the south-west coast of Africa the surface of the ocean reaches the critical temperature of 80 degrees. This causes the surfaces of the ocean to start evaporating producing billion of tons of water vapor every hour. As the Earth rotates counter-clockwise the water vapor rises and rises until it cools to form storm clouds or thunderstorms. Eventually, these cloud systems gain more energy and make their way through the air over a landmass.
GOES is an acronym that stands for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite. Orbiting 22 thousand miles above the Earth these five separate satellites stay fixed to a geostationary orbit which looks down at the same spot of the Earths surface. These satellites give scientists a unique perspective of the entire Earth 24 hours a day, tracking events that can only be fully observed from space. Overlapping the data from these satellites is how scientists work to understand the complex relationships of Earths cycles.
Satellites Help Us Understand the Bigger Picture
These are just three of 120 scientific satellites that when put together help us understand and view Earths processes a little clearer. Satellites with all different kinds of equipment ranging from infrared to microwave wavelengths are used to see the Earth in constant motion. Without these high-tech satellites up in the sky, we would know a lot less if anything that we do now about weather and climate. Collecting data from these satellites is what helps Astronomers, meteorologists, oceanographers, and geologists piece together the predictions and answers to Earths weather and climate patterns.
Article By Jacob Priest of AE4TS