Following the launch of Aeolus on 22 August, this extraordinary satellite is emitting pulses of ultraviolet light from its laser. This image shows light that has been backscattered from air molecules, cloud tops and the ground – from between an altitude of around 24 km and Earth’s surface. Wind speeds will be calculated from signals such as these.
The measurements show a full orbit around Earth, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, and back. Light blue and yellow colours indicate areas that are cloud-free, darker yellow and red indicate dust particles, thin and thicker clouds, and in some cases red also indicates Earth’s surface. Darker blue indicates areas where the ultraviolet light has travelled through a cloud or where there is no signal.
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