Despite a serious cooling problem, the newest U.S. weather satellite has produced a sharp snapshot of Earth.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released the GOES-17 satellite's first image Thursday.
It shows the Western Hemisphere in detail from 22,000 miles up, with cloud moving across the planet.
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This image provided by NOAA/NASA on Thursday, May 31, 2018 shows the Earth's western hemisphere at 12:00 p.m. EDT on May 20, 2018 made by the new GOES-17 satellite, using the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) instrument. The weather satellite observes Earth from about 22,300 miles above the surface. Despite a serious cooling problem, the newest U.S. weather satellite has produced sharp snapshot of Earth. On May 23, 2018, NOAA reported that critical infrared sensors in the satellite's main instrument were not staying cold enough.
Last week, NOAA reported that critical infrared sensors in the satellite's main instrument were not staying cold enough.
The picture taken May 20 and released Thursday relied mostly on the few unaffected channels in the visible light and near infrared.
'While experts continue to address an issue with the cooling system of the satellite’s imager, new views from GOES-17 show that its ABI is providing beautiful – and useful – imagery of the Western Hemisphere,' the NOAA said.
'This imagery was created using two visible bands (blue and red) and one near-infrared “vegetation” band that are functional with the current cooling system performance.'
The imagery also incorporates input from one of the ABI’s “longwave” infrared bands that is functional during a portion of the day despite the cooling system issue.
When combined as a “GeoColor” image, the NOAA says the imagery can still provide valuable information for monitoring dust, haze, smoke, clouds, fog, winds and vegetation.
GOES-17 captured sunset over Earth’s Western Hemisphere on May 20, 2018, using the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) instrument. This view from over 22,000 miles out in space is presented in GeoColor, which captures features of the Earth’s surface and atmosphere in vivid detail and colors intuitive to human vision.
ABI imagery also provides information on cloud motion, helping meteorologists monitor and forecast severe weather and hurricanes.
NASA launched GOES-17 in March.
The problem with the satellite's advanced imager cropped up during routine testing several weeks after liftoff.
A special team is investigating the issue.
An identical imager, also made by the Florida-based Harris Corp., is working fine on the 2016-launched GOES-16.
GOES-17 monitors clouds in our atmosphere with amazing detail and clarity. These dynamic marine stratocumulus cloud patterns off the western coast of Chile in the southeastern Pacific Ocean are revealed by the ABI
The infrared sensors aren't cooling properly, meaning they won't work when the satellite is on the night side of the Earth and directly exposed to the sun's rays.
Experts are scrambling to establish the cause of the problem to fix it, anticipating this will take at least several months.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) officials are currently working on the problem with the GOES-17 satellite, launched in March from Cape Canaveral.
'As you can imagine, doing this remotely from 22,000 miles (35,000 km) below only looking at the on-orbit data is a challenge,' said Steve Volz, head of NOAA's satellite and information service.
Scientists are currently investigating a problem with the cooling system of the GOES-17 satellite's Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) instrument.
The ABI is the primary instrument aboard the satellite for imaging the Earth’s weather, oceans and environment.
ABI views the Earth with 16 different spectral bands, including two visible channels, four near-infrared channels, and ten infrared channels.
The cooling system is an integral part of the ABI that enables it to keep taking clear images.
This particularly affects the infrared and near-infrared channels on the instrument.
That's because these sections of the electromagnetic spectrum are given off by hot objects as thermal radiation.
Infrared and near-infrared imaging will therefore be distorted if the camera equipment itself is giving off these electromagnetic rays.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Denver has so far built two Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES).
It is building two more for NOAA under a $1.4 billion (£1bn) contract NASA signed in 2008 to replace outdated craft already in orbit.
Infrared sensors on the craft (pictured) aren't cooling properly, meaning they won't work when