Sentinel-3B takes its first photos

Sentinel-3B photographed sunset over the Antarctic

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30 May 2018

ESA's Sentinel-3B satellite has delivered its first photos of planet Earth! The stunning images show sunset over Antarctica, sea ice in the Arctic, and a fantastic view of northern Europe.

Sentinel-3B's systems are being carefully tested. Copyright: ESA/ATG medialab.

The pictures were taken using the satellite's ocean and land colour instrument, which will be used to track sea life, pollution in our oceans, and the health of vegetation growing on land. These first pictures show that Sentinel-3B is working well. Over the next five months ESA scientists will carefully test more instruments, checking that everything is perfect before its mission can begin properly.

Greenland, as seen by Sentinel-3B. Can you spot swirling sea ice, caused by wind and ocean currents?

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Sentinel-3B is joining its twin, Sentinel-3A, in orbit around Earth. Working together, the two satellites will watch over our planet's oceans, measuring the temperature, colour and height of the sea surface as well as the thickness of sea ice. These measurements can be used to monitor changes in Earth's climate, and to watch out for pollution. When over land, the satellites will look out for wildfires, map the way land is used, check vegetation health, and measure the height of rivers and lakes.

Northern Europe looks spectacular from orbit!

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Sentinel-3B is the seventh Sentinel satellite launched for ESA's Copernicus mission. This is the European Union's Earth Observation Programme, looking at our planet and its environment for the benefit of all European citizens. The different Sentinels have different specialties, such as 3B’s focus on oceans. All working together, they help us to watch over our home, planet Earth!

Imagine you could decide where Sentinel-3B should take its test pictures. Where would you choose?

Cool fact: Sentinel-3B's ocean and land colour instrument, used to take these first photos, can watch stretches of Earth 1270km across!