Geostationary Earth Orbiting Satellites

Geostationary Satellite orbits the earth as fast as the earth spins and therefore appear to hang over a single point over the earth. An instrument in a geostationary satellite does not view the entire earth and has a poor view of the polar regions. The advantage of a satellite in the geostationary Earth orbit, or GEO) is that an instrument as a continuous view of the mid-latitude and tropical regions. Satellites in this orbit are good for weather studies as you can track the movement of the storms. The satellite loops displayed on your favorite weather channel are observations from a satellite in a geostationary satellite. The United States typically operates two geostationary satellites called GOES (Geostationary Operational Environment Satellite). One has has a good view of the east coast and the other GOES has a better view of the west coast. Other satellites in geostationary orbit include the METEOSAT (METEOrological SATellite) which views the eastern Atlantic Ocean, Africa and Europe and the GMS (Geostationary Meteorological Satellite) which has a good view of Asia, Australia and the west Pacific Ocean.

By combining all the geostationary observations into one image, you can view the cloud cover of the world! Latest GEO Satellite Composite (updated every 3 hours) provided by the Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC).

The Verner E. Suomi Virtual Museum development funded in part by the National Science Foundation Grant #EAR9809458.  Material presented is Copyrighted (C) 1999 by Steve Ackerman and Tom Whittaker.  If you have questions or comments, please let us know!