Emily Lakdawalla • Dec 22, 2015
December solstice: Viewing Earth's seasonal shifts from space
It's fun to watch the seasons shift from space. One of the best ways to do that is from a geostationary weather satellite. Parked over Earth's equator, a satellite like Himawari-8 sees the terminator tilt this way and that with the shifting of the seasons while the continents sit still. (That's Australia at the bottom of the images.)
This year, we have a new way to regularly look at Earth from space: DSCOVR. Sitting between Earth and the Sun, it has quite a different perspective on Earth's shifting seasons. On the left, in northern hemisphere summer, Antarctica is invisible and Australia is pretty far south on the disk. As you go right and summer comes to the southern hemisphere, Australia marches up close to the middle of the disk, and Antarctica reveals itself at the bottom of the globe.
Neat, huh? If you want to play with DSCOVR images from your part of the globe, go to the DSCOVR EPIC website and play around with dates and times. Himawari-8, being geostationary, only ever gives its fixed point of view on Earth; if you want to see something other than Australia and eastern Asia, you'll need to check out other geostationary satellites, like GOES East and West and Meteosat.
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