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Lecture 6 (10/14) METR 1111. Satellites Doing Something Different. What are satellites?. Satellite – Any object that orbits around another object (You’ve got to like these intensive definitions). What can satellites do?. Man-made satellites are designed to carry out a wide range of tasks

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lecture 6 10 14 metr 1111

Lecture 6 (10/14)METR 1111


Doing Something Different

what are satellites
What are satellites?
  • Satellite – Any object that orbits around another object
  • (You’ve got to like these intensive definitions)
what can satellites do
What can satellites do?
  • Man-made satellites are designed to carry out a wide range of tasks
  • Take images, relay signals, etc
  • First introduced over 40 years ago with the Russian satellite Sputnik
  • Currently, over 8000 satellites orbiting Earth
  • Most are not much bigger than a softball, but some are the size of a small car.
4 main types of satellites
4 Main Types of Satellites
  • Geosynchronous Orbiting – stays over same spot on earth (rotates at same speed as land under it)
  • Polar Orbiting – pole to pole orbit
  • Low Earth Orbiting – very low orbit
  • Elliptical Orbiting – elongated pole to pole orbit
geosynchronous orbiting
Geosynchronous Orbiting
  • Geosynchronous – a satellite in an equatorial or near equatorial orbit
  • Has the same angular velocity of the earth
  • Geostationary satellite - a type of geosynchronous satellite that is in a west to east orbit at an altitude of 35,786 km above the equator.
  • Why can it only be at this altitude?
geostationary satellites
Geostationary Satellites
  • Ans: At this altitude it encircles the earth once every 24 hours, making its speed in orbit synchronous (or in sync) with earth’s rotation
  • Balance between gravitational force pulling it towards Earth and centripetal force away from it
  • Stays over same geographic area 24/7
  • Examples: GOES East and West – take images of clouds from space from same vantage point.
  • GOES – Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite
  • Observes the atmosphere in different wavelengths
  • Visible – captures visible light (useless at night but valuable during day)
  • Infrared – captures emitted long and short wave radiation
  • Water Vapor – Just an infrared detector that’s extra-sensitive to water vapor
current goes images
Current GOES Images


polar orbiting satellites
Polar Orbiting Satellites
  • Polar-Orbiting Satellite – a satellite with an orbit that lies in a plane passing through the center of the earth that traverses polar latitudes.
  • POES (Polar-Orbiting

Operational Environmental


more on poes
More on POES
  • Polar orbiting satellites orbit earth in a couple hours.
  • They cover the entire earth with data breaks between paths
  • 2 or 3 polar orbiting

satellites can work

together to minimize

data breaks.

another interesting satellite
Another Interesting Satellite
  • TRMM – Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission
  • First satellite to carry a weather radar
  • Main web site: http://trmm.gsfc.nasa.gov/
  • Images: http://trmm.gsfc.nasa.gov/images_dir/hurricane.html
  • Animations: http://trmm.gsfc.nasa.gov/images_dir/anim_hurricane.html
satellite derived winds
Satellite derived winds:
  • can track a cloud’s movement and get approx. winds at an estimated height.
  • Not as reliable as rawinsondes but it gives us more observations
  • http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/tropic/real-time/europe/winds/winds.html
satellite derived indices
Satellite Derived Indices
  • Great for forecasting severe weather and precipitation
  • Based on soundings that GOES makes
  • Not as accurate as rawinsondes, but again, it helps fill data voids and gives big picture
  • http://orbit-net.nesdis.noaa.gov/goes/soundings/html/fields.html
satellite derived soundings
Satellite-Derived Soundings
  • Gives you soundings every hour instead of every 12 hours
  • http://orbit-net.nesdis.noaa.gov/goes/soundings/skewt/html/
for next time
For next time
  • Read Ch 9 – Hurricanes - REAL WEATHER! (I’m wishing for something interesting)
  • Homework 6 is posted
  • Reminder: Your grade is affected by your attendance. This is my one call to make sure you turn in anything you have not given me yet