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Weather Satellites

Technology | 9-14 yrs | Interactive, Learning Pod

There are many satellites in outer space that have different functions. Some are used for communication by the army and by regular people, some are used to take pictures of the earth, and then there are those that help us collect data about the weather. No matter what their purpose, satellites play an important role in collecting and distributing data collected about the earth. Many countries will work together to put satellites into the earth’s orbit so that they all can benefit from it being there.

What is a weather satellite?

A weather satellite is a man-made satellite which orbits the Earth, providing us with information about different weather conditions across the planet. There are two main types of satellites based on their orbital pattern around Earth.

Orbiting Satellites –

These satellites remain in a low orbit of 500 miles above the Earth. They move from north to south over the poles. they are used to collect information which predicts daily weather conditions such as temperature and rainfall.

Geostationary Satellites –

These satellites are at a higher orbit of 22,500 miles above the Earth. they fly in a pattern over the equator at the same speed as the rotation of earth. They are used to monitor the same areas and how weather conditions like storms develop over time.

How do weather satellites work?

Weather satellites use tools called ‘radiometers’ which use sensors to scan the Earth, This information is collected and analyzed by meteorologists – people who study the weather. The predictions are then shared in newspapers, the internet and television to help us know what kind of weather to expect.

Polar orbits, on the other hand travel in orbits from north to south to fill in the gaps that geostationary equatorial satellites cannot cover. Weather satellites provide vital information about cloud patterns and ground and sea temperatures. They collect and share information with remote data collecting stations such as weather buoys, and observatories from around the world. All this information is send to a communications centre on earth that in turn distributes it to whoever needs or wants it.

Can you find out what satellites that do not follow a fixed orbit around the earth are called? What are some of their uses?

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