GOES Satellites Monitor Earth’s Surface


The game of go, first played in ancient China, is a challenging strategy board game that relies on the ability of players to read one another’s position and plan ahead. In modern times, the game is a favorite among children and adults and is played in a variety of tournaments and games clubs. It is a great way to spend a few hours with family and friends or to challenge yourself to an intense game with the highest stakes.

Like many other traditional board and card games, go is a highly strategic game with an extensive number of variations. The basic rules are simple: each player has 19 black and white stones and places them in their own color on a 19 by 19 grid, and the goal is to surround your opponent’s territory. If you cannot surround your opponents territory, you lose the game.

GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) satellites provide a continuous stream of weather imagery and quantitative sounding data, supporting forecasting, severe storm tracking, and long-term atmospheric research. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) jointly build, launch, and operate the GOES series of satellites.

In geostationary orbit at about 35,790 kilometers (22,240 miles) above Earth, GOES East and West monitor a third of the planet. The satellites can stare at an area of the Earth for up to 24 hours continuously, imaging cloud cover and the surface temperature and water vapor fields. They also sound the atmosphere to detect vertical thermal and vapor structures. The GOES satellites can even track and image thunderstorms, severe local and tropical storms, and hurricanes in real time.

The GOES-16 satellite, which launched on 19 November 2016, is the most advanced in the series of GOES satellites. It is armed with an Advanced Baseline Imager that has three times more spectral channels, four times more resolution, and five times faster scanning than previous GOES satellites. Its Extreme Ultraviolet and X-ray Irradiance Sensor can detect solar flares that produce radiation which could disrupt satellite communications, reduce navigational accuracy, and affect high-altitude airlines, high-flying satellites, and power grids on Earth.

The GOES-16 satellite also carries the NOAA’s High Energy Particle Astrophysics Discriminator and the Space Environment Monitor instruments. HEPAD can detect very high-energy protons and alpha particles associated with large solar flares and the galactic cosmic rays that penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere to cause the phenomenon known as Cerenkov radiation. EPS detects the ambient magnetic field with an instrument package that is identical to those flown on earlier GOES satellites. The SEM instrument package has an added objective of monitoring the activity of solar wind particles.