Eyes in the Sky - Satellite Imagery

There are two main types of weather satellites, defined by their orbital characteristics: Polar Operational Environmental Satellites (POES) and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES). Most satellite images seen on the local television news or The Weather Channel are produced by GOES satellites. GOES Satellites orbit the earth above the equator at the same speed as the earth rotates so they can transmit a continuous picture of the region below. POES orbits are significantly lower and shorter, taking about 100 minutes to travel from pole to pole and produce high resolution "snapshots" of the Earth.

Suomi NPP Satellite Blue Marble
Suomi NPP Satellite Blue MarbleCourtesy NASA

NPP Named in Honor of Satellite Pioneer

The University of Wisconsin-Madison's Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) is pleased to share NASA's announcement that the National Preparatory Project (NPP) satellite, launched 28 October 2011, has been renamed the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite (Suomi NPP) to honor the late Verner E. Suomi. The announcement was made at a NASA Town Hall meeting at the annual American Meteorological Society meeting on 24 January 2012 in New Orleans, LA.

Known as the "the Father of Satellite Meteorology," Verner E. Suomi was a co-founder of SSEC, along with University of Wisconsin-Madison Engineering Professor Robert Parent. Suomi's research and collaborations with Parent, particularly on the spin-scan camera, built the foundation for today's weather satellite program.

Despite numerous changes and advances in technology in the last 50 years, Suomi's legacy continues at SSEC as we strive to improve our understanding of the Earth and its atmosphere through remote sensing.