NASA shows off new satellite night-sensor images. The new day-night sensor of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIRS), is sensitive enough to detect the nocturnal flow produced by Earth's atmosphere and the light from a single ship at sea. Satellites in the U.S. Defense Meteorological Satellite program have been making observations with low-light sensors for 40 years. The new VIRS day-night band can better detect and resolve Earth's night lights with much higher resolution than ever before.
"For all the reasons that we need to see Earth during the day, we also need to see Earth at night," said Steve Miller, a researcher at NOAA'S Colorado State University Institute for research in the atmosphere. The National Weather Service said the new satellite technology is being used to monitor and forecast fog and low clouds for airports, including San Francisco. One can hope this technology will also help local forecasts here in the Northwest better track overnight marine low clouds, improving forecast accuracy.
The Hurricane Sandy photo above was taken during the evening of Oct. 29th. Moonlight helped illuminate the storm, just offshore from New Jersey. The new sensor gives forecasters a night-time detailed look at the tropical storm that before was only possible during daylight hours.
The above information is courtesy of NASA. More information can be found at:
KGW Meteorologist, Rod Hill