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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Imagery and data

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has some of the world’s most advanced satellites. At any given moment, our planet is circled by NOAA satellites that transmit detailed information back to Earth, informing weather forecasts, climatological research – and you.

If you didn’t get the memo, don’t worry. Just head over to NOAA’s website to play with its satellite imagery tools.

The website draws on data from NOAA satellites and presents them in a variety of formats, each packed with fascinating views of Earth from space.

The site’s most fun and interactive tool is its most advanced. “Satellite Maps 3D Scene” lets you spin around and zoom in on a globe that shows real-time imagery from NOAA’s GOES-16 and NOAA-20 satellites.

Most imagery is updated every 15 minutes. You can view the globe’s atmospheric water vapor and infrared radiation.

The site also offers a 24-hour map of the Western Hemisphere that lets you see changes over time or capture and save an image. There’s a global archive of satellite imagery, too.

Want more scientific details? Head on over to the site’s Satellite Image of the Day gallery. Selected imagery – such as a satellite view of the snowy Pacific Northwest – is accompanied by information that can help you interpret all of those puffy and sweeping clouds. A historical archive gives you images of major events, such as the plumes of smoke produced by the recent California wildfires and the landfalls of all sorts of hurricanes and other storms.

Or would you rather admire the view of Earth from space? Try out the “Satellite Images of Beautiful Places” archive. From blooming phytoplankton to the glistening beauty of a chilly winter morning, nothing compares to a much-higher-than-bird’s-eye view of our dynamic planet.