Investigaciones y Recursos Solares Avanzados

Satellites Information

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here are two main satellite orbits: Geostationary Earth Orbiting Satellites (GEO) and Low Earth Orbiting Satellites (LEO). GEO satellites hover over a single point at an altitude of about 36,000 kilometers and to maintain constant height and momentum, a geostationary satellite must be located over the equator. Since the field of view of a satellite in geostationary orbit is fixed, it always views the same geographical area, day and night. This is ideal for making regular sequential observations of cloud patterns over a region with visible and infrared radiometers. High temporal resolution and constant viewing angles are the defining features of geostationary imagery.


The main advantages in the use of images from GEO satellites are the following:

  • The GEO satellite sees simultaneously large areas of terrain, allowing it to know the spatial distribution of the information, as well as, determine the relative differences between one zone to the other.
  • When the information available (satellite images) belongs to the same area, it is possible to study the evolution of the values in one pixel of the image, or in a specific geographic zone.
  • It is possible to know past situations when there are satellites images recorded and stored previously.


LEO satellites travel in a circular orbit moving from pole to pole, collecting data in a swath beneath them as the earth rotates on its axis. In this way, a polar orbiting satellite can "see" the entire planet twice in a 24 hour period.

Currently, IrSOLaV uses GEO satellites images from Meteosat First Generation (Meteosat-7), Meteosat Second Generation (MSG), GOES, MTSAT as well as atmospheric data from Terra and Aqua Polar (LEO) satellites.


1. Caracterización de la Radiación Solar como Recurso Energético. Editorial CIEMAT. 2007

2. Eumetsat website.

3. GOES Project Sciences.

4. Satellite Aplications for Geoscience Education.



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Last update: 06/01/2016


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