National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS)



2019: A Look at the Best Images from Above

Monday, December 23, 2019

As we look ahead to another year on this beautiful and fascinating planet, NOAA’s  Satellite and Information Service would like to take a moment to review 2019 from a satellite’s perspective.

photo of a the earth


It was a year of record-breaking tropical cyclones—in both the Atlantic and Pacific. Many parts of the globe were ravaged by wildfires in 2019 while the wonders of our solar system were on full display.  For NOAA personally, it was a year when we added another cutting-edge satellite to our fleet, as  GOES-17 became operational.

With their lofty view from space, NOAA satellites can see both the awe-inspiring beauty and the sobering destruction that Mother Nature creates across our dynamic blue planet. Below is our Top 10 list (in no particular order) of the most captivating images that Earth-observing satellites captured in 2019. 

All of the images below are available for download and repurposing, with credit to NOAA.


1. The Eye of the Storm 

Left image: The eye of major Hurricane Dorian approaching Abaco Island, Bahamas, on September 1, 2019, as seen by NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite. 

Right image: The eye of Super Typhoon Hagibis over the Pacific Ocean on October 10, 2019, as seen by the Himawari-8 satellite.  NOAA acquires data from Himawari-8 through a partnership with Japan’s Meteorological Agency.

Photo of the eye of dorian
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Photo of the eye of dorian
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2. Here Comes the Moon 

NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite used its Solar Ultraviolet Imager to capture the Moon passing in front of the Sun on February 5, 2019.  

Photo of an eclipse
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3. Fires Down Under 

Left image: Japan’s Himawari-8 satellite captured the heat signatures and smoke plumes from bushfires in New South Wales, Australia on November 8, 2019. 

Right image: Smoke from massive bushfires in New South Wales, Australia, as seen by GOES-17 on November 7-8, 2019 (rotated).

Photo of the eye of fires
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Photo of the eye of Fires
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4. Southern Storminess 

NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite used its Red-Green-Blue Air Mass band to watch several areas of low pressure rotate around each other off the coast of Chile on June 2-3, 2019.

Photo  of moving clouds
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5. Raikoke Blows its Top 

As they passed over Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, both the NOAA/NASA Suomi-NPP satellite (left) and the NOAA-20 satellite (right), snapped these images of the brown ash plume from the Raikoke Volcano eruption on June 22, 2019.

Photo of the eye of dorian
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Photo of the eye of dorian
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6. A Celestial Treat 

Residents of the Southern Hemisphere were treated to a rare total solar eclipse on July 2, 2019. In this loop, NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite is tracking the Moon’s shadow across the Southern Pacific and South America.  

Photo of the earth
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7. The Gassy Sun 

On March 8, 2019, the Sun erupted with a solar flare, which was picked up by NOAA’s GOES-16 Solar Ultraviolet Imager.

Photo of the Sun
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8. Clouds in Paradise 

NOAA’s GOES-17 satellite watched as billowing clouds formed around Hawaii’s Big Island on January 15, 2019.

Photo of Clouds
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9. A Colorful Southwest Storm 

NOAA’s GOES-17 satellite was tracking this pinwheeling low pressure system in the Southwestern U.S. on November 21, 2019. The satellite’s Day Cloud Phase Distinction feature produced this striking composite loop.   

Photo of a storm over california
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10. Dust in the Wind 

On August 26, 2019, NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite watched as one of the largest dust plumes of the year blew over the Atlantic Ocean from the Sahara Desert.

Photo dust over the saraha
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Other contenders:

Tracking a Typhoon 

As Typhoon Lekima meandered through the Pacific Ocean on August 7-8 2019, Japan’s Himawari-8 satellite watched as it became a super typhoon while passing over the Ryukyu Islands.  

Infrared Photo of a Typhoon
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The Americas on Fire 

Left image: The massive smoke plume from California’s Kincade Fire was seen stretching hundreds of miles away from the blaze by NOAA’s GOES-17 satellite, on October 27, 2019.    

Right image: Smoke from numerous fires across the Amazon Rainforest were caught by NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite on August, 12, 2019

Photo of fires
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Photo of the eye smoke
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