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Satellites 2 Essay, Research Paper

There are two types of satellites in the world, man-made satellites, and natural satellites. Natural satellites are things like moons and rocks orbiting a larger body, they don t do much for you, except that our moon provides some light for us at night. Man-made satellites are very important in our lives, they help scientists study Earth, help meteorologists predict the weather, and can even save our lives.

For hundreds of years, people have looked up at the sky to see what the weather was like outside. Recently though, satellites have allowed meteorologists to accurately predict the weather anywhere in the world. There are tons of weather satellites in orbit above the Earth. These satellites all have different types of remote sensors that allow them to view the Earth. Some will monitor clouds, the atmosphere, or precipitation. Meteorologists then use those images to predict the weather. They have been used to predict the path of hurricanes, allowing people time to seek shelter. They have also been used to predict tornadoes and hail, also allowing time for people to seek shelter.

The first weather satellites, launched in 1960, did not remain over a single area long enough to detect hourly changes in the weather. In 1975, however, the US launched a Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite. It stayed 22,300 miles above the equator, at that height, the gravitational forces are just enough to orbit the satellite once per Earth rotation,

therefore it stays above a single area continuously.

Weather satellites aren t the only type of satellites out there though. There are also Landsat satellites. They usually orbit around the North and South poles. They detect changes in the Earth s surface, such as vegetation and moisture. When they gather information, different surface features will be different colors, for instance, plants might be red, or soil may be blue. Landsat images are often called false-color images. Landsat satellites can be used to gather information like air pollution, or algae that might pollute lakes. They can also monitor urban growth, cutting and burning of the rain forests, tracking forest fires, track crop damage, the paths of oil spills, and the movement of animals.

Photographs from satellites are also used in Global Information Systems, or GISs. They use computers to combine maps with other data. That data allows people to observe the spatial patterns of a wide variety of phenomena. An example would be a GIS showing what roads are subject to flooding.

Here are some satellite related websites:

http://rsd.gsfc.nasa.gov/goes/ – GOES project science

http://www.latrobe.edu.au/www/crcss/news.html – news about satellites

http://www.thetech.org/hyper/satellite/ – the satellite site

http://www.smgaels.org/physics/97/home.htm – the beginner s guide to satellites

http://gpshome.ssc.nasa.gov/ – GPS information

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