Why satellites are key to understanding Pacific volcano
When the huge eruption happened over the weekend, a fleet of spacecraft overhead gathered key data.
Watch: Satellite images capture the eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apaiWhen an enormous underwater volcanic eruption occurred in the South Pacific near Tonga on Saturday, satellites were in position to capture what had happened.That's because there's a large and growing fleet of Earth observation spacecraft overhead. Some have constant eyes on particular regions of the Earth, meaning their data is immediately available to study, while others are tasked with making follow-up observations.Read more: BBC News (UK) »
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Media caption, Watch: Satellite images capture the eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai When an enormous underwater volcanic eruption occurred in the South Pacific near Tonga on Saturday, satellites were in position to capture what had happened. That's because there's a large and growing fleet of Earth observation spacecraft overhead. Some have constant eyes on particular regions of the Earth, meaning their data is immediately available to study, while others are tasked with making follow-up observations. All of the information these satellites gathered will aid the emergency response, and help scientists better understand the event. The weather satellites There are a group of spacecraft that monitor weather systems from 36,000km (22,370 miles) above the Earth. They scan an entire hemisphere every few minutes, relaying images of what they see to the ground to inform up-to-date forecasts. It was these meteorology satellites that recorded some of the most spectacular views of the volcano's ash cloud as it climbed high into the sky. A final video of today's explosive #eruption . This shows data from all three weather satellites covering the area. From left to right: Korea's GK-2A, Japan's Himawari-8 and the US GOES-17. Fascinating to see the different perspectives.