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WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 27 - WEATHER SATELLITES: GOES EAST AND WEST
Almost all of the cloud images you see on television come from one of
Both are in orbit more than 22,000 miles above the equator, and both are operated by
NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration.
The satellites are known as
GOES-East and GOES-West. GOES is an acronym, standing
for Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite. Geostationary means that a
satellite orbits at the same rate as the earth rotates, so the satellite always
stays fixed above the same point.
GOES-EAST monitors North and South America, and
most of the Atlantic Ocean.
GOES-WEST also watches over most of North America
along with much of the Pacific Ocean. Together, their
field of view covers most
of the Western Hemisphere.
Needless to say, these satellites are very important to meteorologists, so
important that there's already a backup satellite waiting in orbit to take
over in case either GOES-East or GOES-West fails.