Skip to main content

This Earth Day, Explore Our Amazing World from Above

April 22, 2021

NOAA’s Earth-observing satellites not only collect important environmental information from above, but often capture quite a bit of beautiful, thought-provoking, and very practical imagery while they are at it! For them, it’s a planetary pageant all day, every day.

Here are some resources you can use to see the most recent imagery of Earth!

Satellite Loop Interactive Data Explorer in Real-Time (SLIDER)

GOES East Capture of Western Hemisphere in GeoColor

This site shows real-time imagery from various geostationary satellites around the world. This means that these satellites remain over the same region as they orbit the Earth, allowing them to watch how weather patterns change over time. SLIDER also displays polar-orbiting satellites (NOAA-20 and Suomi-NPP), allowing us to view the polar regions at much higher detail.

Feel free to zoom in on different areas to get a better view of storm systems, fires, volcanoes, or other features—you’ll find something interesting almost anywhere you look! You can even adjust the time period you want to examine, as well as the channel/imagery product to study various things such as cloud height and temperature, lightning, dust storms, and much more! Imagery is downloadable as well.

This site is run by NESDIS 's Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Branch (RAMMB) and our partners at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), based at Colorado State University.

Satellite imagery you can explore comes from:

  • GOES-16 (GOES East)
    • Provides coverage of most of North America, including the continental United States and Mexico, as well as Central and South America, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west coast of Africa.
  • GOES-17 (GOES West)
    • Provides coverage of the Western Hemisphere, including the Western United States including Alaska and Hawaii., and the eastern Pacific Ocean,
  • Himawari-8
    • Operated by our partners at the Japan Meteorological Agency, Himawari provides coverage of the east-Asia and western-Pacific region. Its name means “sunflower” in English.
  • Meteosat-8
    • Operated by our partners at the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), this satellite provides coverage of Europe, Africa, the western Indian Ocean and Eastern Atlantic Ocean.
  • Meteosat-11
    • Also operated by our partners at EUMETSAT, this satellite provides coverage of the Atlantic Ocean, Europe, Africa, and the western Indian Ocean.
  • JPSS (Suomi-NPP/NOAA-20)
    • The Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) is theUnited State’s advanced series of polar-orbiting environmental satellites, operated by NOAA. JPSS represents significant technological and scientific advancements in observations used for severe weather prediction and environmental monitoring. These data are critical to the timeliness and accuracy of forecasts three to seven days in advance of a severe weather event. JPSS is a collaborative effort between NOAA and NASA. The JPSS satellites provide global coverage with local crossing times of ~1:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. every day.

GOES Image Viewer

STAR display of Western Hemisphere in rectangular projection

This site is run by NESDIS's Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR) and also allows you to look at the most recent geostationary satellite imagery from GOES East and GOES West.

You can view geostationary imagery by selecting a particular region as well as channel.

STAR dashboard of different satellite products available to view Earth

NOAA View Global Imagery Viewer


NOAA-20 rectangular projection of entire Earth, in True Color

This site shows the most recent imagery from the polar-orbiting satellite, NOAA-20, and allows you to search various types of data it collects about the ocean, atmosphere, land, cryosphere, climate, as well as weather models.

You can also search imagery via date and can zoom in on different areas.

To view, click "Add data" and select the type of imagery you are interested in.

For example, to see the world close to how it would appear with the naked eye, clickAtmosphere > True Color.



DSCOVR satellite imagery of Eastern Hemisphere of Earth, along with dashboard

This site shows imagery from the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) onboard the DSCOVR satellite. You can search for imagery by date and also zoom in on different areas.

This satellite is located roughly one million miles from Earth, at a location directly between the Earth and the Sun called the L1 Lagrange Point. This satellite also maintains the United State’s real-time solar wind monitoring capabilities, which are critical to the accuracy and lead time of NOAA’s space weather alerts and forecasts.

DSCOVR is operated via a partnership between NOAA, NASA and the U.S. Air Force (USAF).

NASA Worldview


NASA WorldView rectangular projection of entire Earth, in True Color approximation and with unblended swaths

This tool comes from our partners at NASA, and allows us to interactively browse global, full-resolution satellite imagery via their Earth Observing System Data and Information System ( EOSDIS ). Worldview uses data collected from numerous satellites, including those operated by NOAA, and allows you to easily visualize a host of air quality issues as well. Many of the data products are updated within three hours of observation.

Images are downloadable, and you can also make animated gifs. There are also downloadable instructions on how to use this resource.