The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released the first image from the NOAA-21 Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer (VIIRS).
The recently launched satellite captured a stunning panoramic view of Earth, created from swaths of data captured across the globe over the 24-hour period between December 5 and December 6.
Polar-orbiting satellites monitor the entire planet twice each day, unlike geostationary satellites.
According to the agency, the mosaic image shows bright blue waters containing phytoplankton in the Caribbean Sea, weather systems in motion and smog from agricultural fires in northern India.
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The turquoise color around Cuba and the Bahamas is caused by sediment in the shallow waters around the continental shelf, Dr. Satya Calourie, a joint satellite program scientist, said in a statement.
VIIRS provides ocean color measurements to help detect harmful algal blooms and monitor phytoplankton activity and sea surface temperature.
Above Earth, the satellite—which also flies on the Common Polar System’s NOAA-20 and Suomi-NPP satellites—can detect and measure the severity of wildfires, droughts, and floods.
Fire intensity is fed into a product that tracks the thickness and movement of wildfire smoke.
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VIIRS also produces important environmental products on ice, ice cap, clouds, fog, aerosols and dust, as well as the health of the world’s crops.
The device was launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base on November 10.
NOAA-21, formerly known as JPSS-2, is the second operational satellite in a series called the Joint Polar Satellite System.
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NOAA and NASA oversee the development, launch, testing and operation of all satellites in the system.
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