Friday, May 11, 2012

In Russia, Weather Satellite See You

The Russians launched a "new" geostationary weather satellite in January 2011 (hence the new in "quotes"), one that produces high resolution images of our a 121 megapixels of resolution.

So much for that "point-and-click" in your house that is cranking out pictures at 15 megapixels!

Elektro-L is now orbiting Earth at 36,000 kilometers above the equator, about 22,000 miles up, taking pictures of the planet every 30 minutes through four wavelengths, three visible and one infrared.

Compared to NASA's high-resolution satellite picture (below), there's a pretty decent difference in look and in how the Earth appears.   The "blue marble" edition is probably a bit more "real" and a bit less glossed up in look, with a sharper image in general (to my relatively untrained eye) although seeing the animation of the Russian satellite above is rather slick.  

It's a far cry from late 1970's weather satellite technology though!  The below image is from 1977, right before Hurricane Anita made landfall along the Gulf of Mexico coastline in Northeast Mexico.  Good luck finding the land boundaries!