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Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) East and West Visualization

December 5, 2017
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This animation depicts the areas of the Earth viewed by GOES East and GOES West from their vantage point 22,236 miles above the equator. NOAA maintains a two-satellite Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) constellation to watch over the Western Hemisphere.

The satellites circle the Earth in geosynchronous orbit, which means they orbit the Earth’s equatorial plane at a speed matching the Earth’s rotation. This allows them to stay in a fixed position in the sky, remaining stationary with respect to a point on the ground.

GOES-16 serves as NOAA’s GOES East satellite, located at 75.2 degrees west longitude. GOES-S, GOES-16’s sister satellite, has also reached geostationary orbit. GOES-17 has taken its place as NOAA’s operational GOES West satellite since late 2018. In the GOES West position, GOES-17 is located at 137 degrees west longitude.

Together, GOES-16 and GOES-17 keep an eye on the Western Hemisphere’s atmosphere, weather patterns and environmental hazards from the west coast of Africa all the way to New Zealand.