While you and I were nursing our post 4th of July hangover the European Space Agency was busy launching the Meteosat Second Generation-3 (MSG-3) weather satellite into a geosynchronous orbit about 40,000 kilometers above the Earth.
90% of satellites are in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) meaning they are zooming by about about 2000km overhead while this weather satellite is in geosynchronous orbit which means in really simple terms that it orbits Earth at a slower rate of 24 hours.
This is the same distance that our GPS satellites orbit and it allows the MSG-3 to see the entire Earth at one time and get a good read on emerging weather patterns. To better understand the orbit heights of our satellites view the full size image of the impressive infographic above.
The MSG-3 has several ridiculously expensive cameras on board, including the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI). This camera takes infrared pictures in 12 different wavelengths (colors) so meteorologist can monitor the weather but it also has a super high quality camera too! The MSG-3 just sent back it’s first image of Earth and it is a stunner.