Meteorological satellites (or more broadly, environmental satellites) have been around for 40 years. Imagery from satellites are standard fare for television weathercasts and are familiar to most everyone. But do you understand how they really work and the significance of what your are seeing?
Satellite pictures taken in visible light are the easiest to understand on a basic level, as it is what we are familiar with in our everyday experience. Reflection of light from clouds or other objects and surfaces reflects back to our eyes or a camera. The reflection of light makes the object visible. Exceptions would be self-luminous objects, such as the sun or a light bulb, which do not depend on reflected light.
But visible light is only one type of electromagnetic radiation. The infrared region of the spectrum is where objects and gases of "normal" temperatures usually radiate most strongly. Sensors aboard the satellites provide images in this and other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum, as well. Below are links to a variety of resources on the Internet to help the user learn the basics of the electromagnetic spectrum, satellite remote sensing, some specific applications and explanations of how some satellites work. No attempt is made here to include the breadth of remote sensing or to provide links to the many Internet sources of satellite imagery. With the ever-changing content of the Internet and World Wide Web, no list will ever be complete! If you have found other resources that would be appropriate, please contact us at the Email address below. Click here for the "Homework Helper" -- links of particular interest for those middle and high school papers and projects!
|Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere. Chinese proverb.
"Space travel is utter bilge." Dr. Richard Wooley, U.K. Astronomer Royal, 1956