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'First Light' taken by NASA instrument to determine Earth's energy balance

Washington, Fri, 03 Feb 2012 ANI

Washington, Feb 3 (ANI): The latest version of NASA's Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) instrument is scanning Earth for the first time, helping to guarantee sustained availability of measurements of the energy leaving the Earth-atmosphere system.

 

The CERES results help scientists to determine the Earth's energy balance, providing a long-term record of this crucial environmental parameter that will be consistent with those of its predecessors.

 

CERES arrived in space Oct. 28, 2011, carried by NASA's newest Earth-observing satellite, the recently renamed Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership, or Suomi NPP. Suomi NPP is the result of a partnership between NASA, NOAA and the Department of Defense.

 

Instrument cover-opening activities began on the instrument at 10:12 a.m. Eastern time Jan. 26, an operation that took about three hours. The "first light" process represented the transition from engineering checkout to science observations. The next morning CERES began taking Earth-viewing data, and on Jan. 29 scientists produced an image from the scans.

 

"It's extremely gratifying to see the CERES FM-5 instruments on Suomi NPP begin taking measurements. We're continuing the legacy of the most accurate Earth radiation budget observations ever made," said CERES project scientist Kory Priestley, of NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

 

"It has taken an incredible team of engineers, scientists, data management and programmatic experts to get CERES to this point," he added. (ANI)

 


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