Satellites of the ESL

Visit the satellites schedule page to find our daily coverage of polar orbiters.

AVHRR Series

NOAA's Polar Orbiting Satellites - our longest running archived dataset.

The NOAA Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellites (also known as the POES project) are equipped with the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) sensor. The project has origins dating back to the 1970s, with NOAA-15 being the oldest operational satellite currently in orbit. The AVHRR sensor measures 5 spectral bands of reflectance from the earth's surface ranging from the visible red band to 12 micrometers. By combining these bands in various ways scientists are able to study vegatation on land, surface temperatures of the ocean, and atmospheric conditions. The Earth Scan Lab has captured AVHRR data longer than any other satellite-sensed dataset.

Spectral Coverage Summary

ChannelSpectral CoverageResolution
Channel 1580 - 680 nm1.1km
Channel 2725 - 1000 nm1.1km
Channel 31580 - 1640 nm1.1km
Channel 410.3 - 11.3 micrometers1.1km
Channel 511.5 - 12.5 micrometers1.1km
See coverage for this series at the orbit plots

GVAR Series

NOAA's Geostationary Operational Environment Satellites - capturing data every 30 minutes.

The GOES-13 (East) satellite orbits over the equator at 75 degrees west longitude. It provides high temporal resolution imagery at a spatial resolution of 4km, and is especially useful for rapidly changing atmospheric applications. The ESL has developed GOES SST algorithms which, when combined with SSH data, allow us to study the Gulf of Mexico's currents throughout the year. The GOES imagery also helps us to track and study hurricanes and tropical storms from the African coast all the way to the continental United States. The ESL utilizes GOES-13 imagery to assist the State of Louisiana in emergency response to tropical storms and to provide information on a storm's location and changes in real-time through our web site, news media sources, and social media.

Spectral Coverage Summary

ChannelSpectral CoverageResolution
Channel 1.65 micrometers1km
Channel 23.9 micrometers4km
Channel 36.75 micrometers4km
Channel 410.7 micrometers4km
Channel 613.3 micrometers4km x 8km
See coverage for this series at the orbit plots
GOES Eclipse Schedule

MODIS Series

NASA's MODIS Satellites - capturing moderate resolution data at 36 channels.

The Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) equipped satellites are part of the EOS (Earth Observing System) fleet of NASA satellites. The sensor is onboard NASA's Aqua-1 and Terra-1 polar orbiters, and it captures 36 spectral bands from the blue part of the spectrum through infrared. The data we capture from Aqua-1 and Terra-1 has many applications such as giving spectacular, high resolution and large scale true color images of land and water as well as sea surface temperature maps, ocean color information, and numerous atmospheric products. At the ESL we have used MODIS data to track vegetation health, ocean currents, sediment transport, support hypoxia cruise missions, track oil slicks, and study tropical storm activity.

Spectral Coverage Summary

ChannelSpectral CoverageResolution
Channel 1620 - 670 nm250m
Channel 2841 - 876 nm250m
Channel 3459 - 479 nm500m
Channel 4545 - 565 nm500m
Channel 51.23 - 1.25 micrometers500m
Channel 61.628 - 1.652 micrometers500m
Channel 72.105 - 2.155 micrometers500m
Channel 8 405 - 420 nm1km
Channel 9438 - 448 nm1km
Channel 10483 - 493 nm1km
Channel 11526 - 536 nm1km
Channel 12546 - 556 nm1km
Channel 13662 - 672 nm1km
Channel 14673 - 683 nm1km
Channel 15743 - 753 nm1km
Channel 16862 - 877 nm1km
Channel 17890 - 920 nm1km
Channel 18931 - 941 nm1km
Channel 19915 - 965 nm1km
Channel 203.66 - 3.84 micrometers1km
Channel 213.93 - 3.99 micrometers1km
Channel 223.93 - 3.99 micrometers1km
Channel 234.02 - 4.08 micrometers1km
Channel 244.43 - 4.50 micrometers1km
Channel 254.48 - 4.55 micrometers1km
Channel 261.36 - 1.39 micrometers1km
Channel 276.54 - 6.90 micrometers1km
Channel 287.18 - 7.48 micrometers1km
Channel 298.4 - 8.7 micrometers1km
Channel 309.58 - 9.88 micrometers1km
Channel 3110.78 - 11.28 micrometers1km
Channel 3211.77 - 12.27 micrometers1km
Channel 3313.185 - 13.485 micrometers1km
Channel 3413.485 - 13.785 micrometers1km
Channel 3513.785 - 14.085 micrometers1km
Channel 3614.085 - 14.385 micrometers1km

See coverage for this series at the orbit plots

Suomi NPP

NASA's National Polar-orbiting Partnership - a transition mission from MODIS to NPOES

The Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) is the continuation of NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) and is the product of years of collaboration between NASA, NOAA, and the Department of Defense. The satellite is equipped with five sensors: VIIRS, CriS, CERES, ATMS and OMPS. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) is the next generation scanning radiometer and a follow on to NASA's MODIS sensor. ATMS and CriS are sounders producing high-resolution 3D temperature, moisture and pressure profiles. OMPS is a hyper spectral instrument used for ozone assessment. CERES is a three channel radiometer used to measure reflected and emitted radiation of the Earth and profile clouds. Together these instruments provide a thorough, high resolution view of ocean, land and atmospheric conditions.

Spectral Coverage Summary

ChannelSpectral CoverageResolution
Channel M1412 nm0.742x0.259 km
Channel M2445 nm0.742x0.259 km
Channel M3488 nm0.742x0.259 km
Channel M4555 nm0.742x0.259 km
Channel M5672 nm0.742x0.259 km
Channel M6746 nm0.742x0.776 km
Channel M7865 nm0.742x0.259 km
Channel M81.24 micrometers0.742x0.776 km
Channel M91.38 micrometers0.742x0.776 km
Channel M101.61 micrometers0.742x0.776 km
Channel M112.25 micrometers0.742x0.776 km
Channel M123.70 micrometers0.742x0.776 km
Channel M134.05 micrometers0.742x0.259 km
Channel M148.55 micrometers0.742x0.776 km
Channel M1510.76 micrometers0.742x0.776 km
Channel M1612.01 micrometers0.742x0.776 km
Channel DNB700 nm0.742x0.742 km
Channel I1640 nm0.371x0.387 km
Channel I2865 nm0.371x0.387 km
Channel I31.61 micrometers0.371x0.387 km
Channel I43.74 micrometers0.371x0.387 km
Channel I511.45 micrometers0.371x0.387 km


ISRO's Ocean Color Monitor Satellite - decomissioned as of 2010

The Ocean Color Monitor (OCM) is carried aboard the Oceansat-1 polar orbiting satellite. This satellite operates in a near-polar sun synchronous orbit. OCM is a solid state camera operating in eight narrow spectral bands. The camera is used to collect data on chlorophyll concentration, detect and monitor phytoplankton blooms and obtain data on atmospheric aerosols and suspended sediments in the water. OCM is an 8-channel sensor (whose spectral bands match that of the Orbview-2) SeaWiFS sensor, supplementing both true-color and ocean color views for that sensor. Oceansat-1 stopped transmitting on August 8, 2010, and the ESL has not yet captured data from ISRO's follow-on, Oceansat-2.

Spectral Coverage Summary

ChannelSpectral CoverageResolution
Channel 10.402-0.422 micrometers250m
Channel 20.433-0.453 micrometers250m
Channel 30.480-0.500 micrometers250m
Channel 40.500-0.520 micrometers250m
Channel 50.545-0.565 micrometers250m
Channel 60.660-0.680 micrometers250m
Channel 70.745-0.785 micrometers250m
Channel 80.845-0.88 micrometers250m

Associated Archives