In February, Raytheon
delivered the second Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) to Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colorado, where it will be installed on the first Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) spacecraft slated for launch in 2017.
VIIRS sensor onboard the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite is changing the way we see the world. Since capturing its first image in November 2011, VIIRS has consistently delivered stunning perspectives of Earth, while it provides critical weather data to forecasters.
A collection of images from VIIRS offers unprecedented views of the planet we call home. Click the links in the captions to download high-resolution versions of the images.
1. Blue Marble 2012
Blue Marble 2012: Goddard Space Flight Center Ocean Scientist Norman Kuring wove together individual images captured by VIIRS to create this single, stunning composite of North and Central America. Credit:NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring ( Download High Resolution Photo) 2. Storm Clouds
After reaching a final altitude of 512 miles above the Earth onboard the Suomi NPP satellite, VIIRS captured this image, its first, in November 2011. Heavy cloud cover lingers from Michigan to southern Georgia, eventually giving way to blue skies over Florida. Image by the NASA/NPP Team at the Space Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin–Madison. ( Download High Resolution Photo) 3. Aurora Borealis
Capable of providing data in 22 spectral bands, VIIRS leveraged its "Day-Night Band" to capture this image of the aurora borealis, commonly called the Northern Lights, on October 8, 2012. This particularly stunning event is the result of a massive solar storm a few days earlier. NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using VIIRS Day-Night Band data from the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) and the University of Wisconsin's Community Satellite Processing Package. ( Download High Resolution Photo) 4. Vegetation Maps
VIIRS data is used to generate high resolution vegetation maps, like the ones seen here, that provide keen insight on effective land usage, give advance warning for potential droughts and alert officials of high risk fire conditions. Even golf course designers are using VIIRS vegetation maps to optimize course configuration. ( Download High Resolution Photo) 5. Earth At Night
Robert Simmon, NASA's lead data visualizer and information designer at the Goddard Space Flight Center, assembled this composite image of the Earth at night from data provided by VIIRS in April and October 2012. VIIRS detects light in a wide range of wavelengths from green to near infrared. NASA Earth Observatory image by Robert Simmon, using Suomi NPP VIIRS data provided courtesy of Chris Elvidge (NOAA National Geophysical Data Center). ( Download High Resolution Photo) 6. Snow Cover
As the Northeast dug out from a historic winter storm in February 2013, VIIRS captured this high-resolution image of snow cover from its perch onboard the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite, which circles the Earth at an altitude of 512 miles. CREDIT: NOAA Environmental Visualization Lab ( Download High Resolution Photo) 7. Tropical Storm Sandy
Forecasters analyzed the structure and key characteristics of Tropical Storm Sandy using infrared false-color images from VIIRS, like the one seen here, to confirm their predictions that the storm would intensify and ultimately reach hurricane status. ( Download High Resolution Photo) 8. Power Outage
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, a third of Manhattan, much of Long Island and most of central New Jersey and its barrier islands lost electrical power. These images from VIIRS' Day-Night Band show the same region under normal conditions (August 31, 2012) and blackout conditions (November 1, 2012), providing a visual perspective on energy usage. NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen and Rob Simmon, using VIIRS Day-Night Band data provided by Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) at the University of Wisconsin. ( Download High Resolution Photo) 9. Hurricanes
VIIRS provided forecasters with a once-in-a-lifetime view on August 5, 2014, as Hurricanes Iselle and Julio stacked up east of Hawaii. It is rare for hurricanes to threaten Hawaii from the east, especially two in such close proximity. NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response. ( Download High Resolution Photo) 10. Ocean Chlorophyll
NASA scientists used visible radiometric measurements from VIIRS to create this composite image of ocean chlorophyll concentrations. Purple and blue coloration indicates lower chlorophyll concentrations, while orange and red are representative of higher concentrations. Credit: NASA/Suomi NPP/Norman Kuring ( Download High Resolution Photo)