Archive for the ‘Geosynchromous orbit’ Tag

Oh Beautiful for Spacious Skies! GOES 12 Image.

Never in my wildest dreams during my 41 years of teaching college/university meteorology did I ever think that I would be able to sit in my recliner at home (or anywhere else for that matter) with a personal computer on my lap allowing me to gaze at color images of our beautiful earth from near space in nearly real time!  Nor did I ever imagine being able to electronically transfer that image to a web-log for hundreds of interested (and interesting) people who visit the site.

The only thing about all of this that disappoints me is my not having been able to do similar things in the classroom for the nearly 25,000 students who took my courses.  I feel very fortunate, however, to have a wonderful following of Senior Institute participants at Central Florida Community College in Ocala.  In the classroom where I meet with them I am able to project on-line images on a large screen.  That they seem to enjoy my use of the technology in the classroom is icing on the cake.  I know how lucky I am to be able to continue after retirement, teaching and learning more and more about subjects I love.

Please take a look at this beautiful image.  Enlarge it as much as you are able.  I suggest right-clicking on the image and saving it so that you can study it using an image viewer of your choice; do that, ONLY after getting the image as large as you are able following the instructions immediately below.

TWO INDEPENDENT LEFT CLICKS SHOULD GIVE YOU

A VERY LARGE IMAGE WHICH WILL ALLOW YOU TO SEE

DETAIL MUCH BETTER SO LONG AS YOU SCROLL

UP AND DOWN, RIGHT AND LEFT.

PLEASE BE PATIENT.

DEPENDING UPON YOUR CONNECTION SPEED,

LOADING MAY TAKE A WHILE.

11-10-2008-345p-est

This image was completed at 3:45 PM EST, November 10, 2008; the time stamp is at the upper left corner but is easy to read only when you enlarge.  The satellite that did this, GOES 12, is in geosynchronous orbit.  This simply means that it completes one orbit (revolution) in the same period of time the earth makes one rotation; that period of time is one day.  Also, it orbits within the equatorial plane.  Therefore, as the satellite travels rapidly though space it stays over the same point above earth (about 22,300 miles from the earth’s surface).  The distance between the satellite and earth’s surface is almost three earth diameters – so “high” that full disk images of earth can be captured.

With adequate enlargement you can see the aqua-blue of the shallow Bahama Platform.  You can also see ice and snow in the Southern Andes, Greenland, the Arctic Ocean, and the Antarctic peninsula.  You can see the remnant of what was once hurricane Paloma centered slightly north of Cuba.  You can see the bright tops of high clouds and the grey tones of the lower clouds.  If you know weather circulation patterns as marked by clouds you will see cyclonic circulation in both hemispheres.  In the North Pacific there is a very large cyclonic system approaching B.C. Washington, and Oregon.  There is a huge front stretching across the South Pacific.  The Intertropical Convergence Zone is very well marked by clouds in the Pacific.  There is a large extratropical cyclone over the Middle United States. The list goes on and on.

Being able to see all of this, to my mind, is a miracle.

Yours Truly,

Tonie Ansel Toney

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