Music of the Sphere

NASA has gathered data about the Earth for a long time with a wide range of Earth science missions. As time has passed, missions have become more robust and collected much more data. Specialists at Earth Data have put the data starting in the mid-60s into musical tones in this brief video. Turn up the sound and enjoy.

If more data was collected from the Earth science mission, the pitch of the tone is higher. A guitar represents mission launches. The field of each mission is categorized into these orchestral parts:

      • Strings = Atmosphere and Weather
      • High Woodwinds = Geosphere – Landforms
      • Low Woodwinds = Hydrosphere – Water Worlds
      • High Brass = Cryosphere – Ice Formations
      • Low Brass = Biosphere – Living Organisms

By the way, April 22 is the 50th Earth Day. Listen to the first episode of NASA’s Curious Universe podcast:

Eye of Michael | GOES View | 10 Oct 2018

This is the best view I’ve ever seen of the dynamics of the eye and wall of a powerful hurricane. Michael was recorded by the GOES-16 weather satellite on 10 Oct 2018 as it made landfall in Florida with 150 mph winds. Notice how the eye lost shape as it went inland.

Click on the image to be taken to the University of Wisconsin Department of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences. There you can watch the video.

U of Wisconsin | Dept of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences


Amazon River Sunglint

I looked at the GOES-17 full-disk view of Earth during sunrise across the Americas on the morning of 7 Oct 2018. It was a beautiful way to start the day. The video on the site looped repeatedly while I watched showing images taken every 15 min.

Something curious caught my eye in the Amazon Basin. I screen-captured this short video. Watch the Amazon region for movement of bright light up-river. It is sunglint. Reflection of sunlight off the water surface into the GOES satellite optics.

Using the tools on the site, I zoomed into the Amazon Basin for a better look. Here it is from the mouth at the Atlantic to the west toward the Andes. Not much of the river is visible.

Watch what happens when the same region is viewed at 15 min intervals in this video loop. I stepped the video forward over a 3 hour interval, rewound, and repeated.

Here is a close-up of the river and tributaries at the middle of the basin. Amazing what you can see with the new GOES weather satellites.

If you want to explore more from a GOES weather satellite. Here is a link to the image viewer. Note the tabs across the page. Try them out. The U.S. Regions tab offers closer views and animations. Go ahead and have some fun. You can’t break anything.

Geostationary Orbit Translation

Synchronous Earth Orbits

This graphic from Boeing illustrates about 300 communication satellites were in geosynchronous orbit in 2012. They include Echostar and DirectTV, as well as those for Canada, Central and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. The ones colored blue are Boeing satellites. This graphic does not include the GOES weather satellites. They are parked in the same orbit as these shown. Click to enlarge for much more detail.

The detailed view shows the satellites spaced apart by small angular amounts directly above the equator. Over densely populated regions, where there are more satellites in orbit, they are 0.5˚ apart in the sky, the same as the width of a full moon. In less populated regions, as over the Pacific, satellites are 1˚, 2˚, up to 3˚ apart. All satellites are to remain in their assigned location and not drift east or west into the zone occupied by a neighboring satellite. Low-power rocket thrusters work periodically to keep them on-station.

Click enlarges for detail in a new tab.

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