Japan’s Himawari-8 Satellite Captures Whole Earth’s Images Every 10 Minutes


Since past few years, satellites are being launched like fireworks across the globe. Recently India’s space agency ISRO launched 5 UK satellites in its biggest ever commercial launch. While the world was waiting for the NASA’s satellite The New Horizons to investigate Pluto, Japan had been busy working to safeguard Earth’s people.

Himawari-8, the world’s first geostationary weather satellite has become fully operational since Tuesday. Launched in October last year to replace its predecessor Himawari-7, the new geostationary satellite is capable of taking high-resolution images to zoom into the region up to 500sq. meters.

Stationed at a geostationary orbit about three times the diameter of Earth, Himawari-8 takes images of the whole planet in every 10 minutes or 144 images per day. With an estimated cost of $692 million, it will immensely help the weather forecasters to understand the evolution of weather systems, give early warnings to the general public, and to forecast the weather conditions much accurately.

Himawari-8 has already detected two typhoons, Typhoon Chan-Hom and Typhoon Nangka in the west Pacific. The Typhoon Chan-Hom is forecasted to be Category 1 when it reaches Shanghai.

Japanese weathermen are continuously gazing at the images from the satellite as Typhoon Nangka will on be their doorsteps in the next week.

The satellite is located above New Guinea, just above the Pacific Ocean. Himawari-8 has twice the resolution than the other satellites that help in weather forecasts. The images, however, are limited to the geostationary position of the satellite.

The New York Times is displaying some amazing animations from the Himawari-8 captured images. Also, the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies has showed the images at different wavelengths.

It is not just Japan, but the USA as well that is trying to get itself a similar satellite GOES-R to alert its citizens and make accurate forecasts in time. The satellite will be launched in March 2016.

Source: NYT

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Aashish Sharma

Aashish Sharma

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