Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

'First Light' Taken by NASA's Newest CERES Instrument

03.02.2012
The doors are open on NASA's Suomi NPP satellite and the newest version of the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) instrument is scanning Earth for the first time, helping to assure continued availability of measurements of the energy leaving the Earth-atmosphere system.

The CERES results help scientists to determine the Earth's energy balance, providing a long-term record of this crucial environmental parameter that will be consistent with those of its predecessors.

CERES arrived in space Oct. 28, 2011, carried by NASA's newest Earth-observing satellite, the recently renamed Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership, or Suomi NPP. Suomi NPP is the result of a partnership between NASA, NOAA and the Department of Defense.

Instrument cover-opening activities began on the instrument at 10:12 a.m. Eastern time Jan. 26, an operation that took about three hours. The "first light" process represented the transition from engineering checkout to science observations. The next morning CERES began taking Earth-viewing data, and on Jan. 29 scientists produced an image from the scans.

"It's extremely gratifying to see the CERES FM-5 instruments on Suomi NPP begin taking measurements. We're continuing the legacy of the most accurate Earth radiation budget observations ever made," said CERES project scientist Kory Priestley, of NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

"It has taken an incredible team of engineers, scientists, data management and programmatic experts to get CERES to this point," he said.

NASA instruments have provided the scientific community unprecedented observations of the Earth's climate and energy balance for nearly 30 years. The first CERES instrument was launched in 1997. Before that, the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) did the job beginning in 1984.

Langley Research Center has led both the ERBE and CERES experiments and provided stewardship of these critical climate observations.

For 27 years without a break, the instruments collectively have returned a vast quantity of precise data about the solar energy reflected and absorbed by Earth, the heat the planet emits, and the role of clouds in that process.

"CERES monitors minute changes in the Earth's energy budget, the difference between incoming and outgoing energy," said CERES principal investigator Norman Loeb, of Langley Research Center.

"Any imbalance in Earth's energy budget due to increasing concentrations of heat trapping gases warms the ocean, raises sea level, and causes increases in atmospheric temperature," Loeb said. "Amassing a long record of data is important in order to understand how Earth's climate is changing in response to human activities as well as natural processes."

How It Works

In addition to observing changes in Earth's radiation budget, scientists are also monitoring changes in clouds and aerosols, which strongly influence Earth's radiation budget.

"Clouds both reflect sunlight and block energy from radiating to space," Loeb said. "Which of these two effects dominates depends upon the properties of clouds, such as their amount, thickness and height."

"As the Earth's environment evolves, cloud properties may change in ways that could amplify or offset climate change driven by other processes. Understanding the influence of clouds on the energy budget is therefore a critical climate problem."

The four other CERES instruments are in orbit on NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites.

Overall Mission

The five-instrument suite on Suomi NPP collects and distributes remotely sensed land, ocean, and atmospheric data to the meteorological and global Earth system science research communities. The mission will provide atmospheric and sea surface temperatures, humidity sounding, land and ocean biological productivity, cloud and aerosol properties, total/profile ozone measurements, and monitor changes in the Earth's radiation budget.

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., manages the Suomi mission for the Earth Science Division of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) program provides the satellite ground system and NOAA provides operational support. Suomi NPP commissioning activities are expected to be completed by March.

NASA Langley manages the CERES experiment with additional contracted support from Science Systems and Applications, Inc. The TRW Space & Electronics Group in Redondo Beach, Calif., now owned by Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, built all of the CERES instruments.

Michael Finneran
NASA Langley Research Center

Michael Finneran | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nasa.gov
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/NPP/news/npp-ceres-firstlight.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time
17.10.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging
17.10.2017 | American Association for the Advancement of Science

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>