• The MTG-I1 satellite has delivered its first images
  • They provide detailed views of the planet
  • "This level of detail wasn't possible over Europe and Africa from a geostationary orbit before," Eumetsat tweeted

The first images from a new weather satellite are finally here, and they provide incredible views of our planet. Such imagery could be "extraordinarily important" for weather forecasts.

The Meteosat Third Generation - Imager 1 (MTG-I1) was launched back in December. As the first of Europe's fleet of "new generation" satellites, it was expected to "revolutionize weather forecasting."

MTG-I1 has now delivered its first image and it provides an incredible view of the Earth. Taken on March 18, the new image shows the planet in exceptional detail.

"This level of detail wasn't possible over Europe & Africa from a geostationary orbit before!" tweeted the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), the intergovernmental agency that operates Meteosat satellites.

In the image, one can truly see the conditions on Earth in excellent detail, with some parts blanketed in clouds and others experiencing clearer skies.

EUMETSAT even shared a comparison between the new image and another one from a second-generation Meteosat satellite. The 10-second clip highlights the better resolution of the new one.

A short video comprising images taken by the MTG-I1 shows the Earth over a 24-hour period, from March 18 to 19, where one can observe the face of the planet transitioning from day to night, then to day again.

The brightness of the Sun can clearly be seen crossing over the ocean as the day shifts to night. Throughout the transition, the shifts, formations and movements of the clouds are visible in exceptional detail.

The third-generation satellite can provide images with "much higher resolution, and more frequently" than its predecessors, noted the ESA.

"This image represents not just what can be achieved through European expertise but our determination to ensure the benefits of new technology are felt by communities in Europe and beyond," said Simonetta Cheli, the ESA's director of Earth Observation Programs.

"It might sound odd to be so excited about a cloudy day in most of Europe. But the level of detail seen for the clouds in this image is extraordinarily important to weather forecasters," added Phil Evans of Eumetsat. "That additional detail from the higher resolution imagery, coupled with the fact that images will be produced more frequently, means forecasters will be able to more accurately and rapidly detect and predict severe weather events."

Sure enough, the new images sparked excitement for weather forecasters. Meteorologist and weather presenter Simon King, of BBC Weather, expressed excitement over the quality of the new image, praising its impressive resolution that provides stunning detail of the Earth and clouds.

"(I)t's like watching TV from SD to 4K," King said, comparing the new image from the satellite to an older one.

Apart from providing impressive images of our planet, such weather satellites can help in improving weather forecasting and provide a better understanding of the planet's weather systems, noted the ESA.

And, the MTG-I1 is only the beginning. The full MTG system is comprised of six satellites, which together usher in a "new era of satellite meteorology."

Global network across the Earth
Global network across the Earth Gerd Altmann/Pixabay