Blog about satellites: launches, operations, studies, fall.

Model of the Earth's magnetic field (Image ESA)

ESA has published the most detailed map ever created of the Earth’s magnetic field using data collected over three years of the mission of its three Swarm satellites. For this work, data collected by the German CHAMP (Challenging minisatellite Payload) mission in the last decade were also used together with new modeling techniques. The result was the extraction of the tiny magnetic signals from the Earth’s crust.

The Sun during a solar flare (Image NASA/NOAA)

NASA released an image of the solar flare occurred on January 21 captured by the GOES-16 satellite that the agency runs with NOAA using the Extreme Ultraviolet and X-Ray Irradiance Sensors (EXIS) instrument. It’s specifically aimed to observe the Sun and monitor phenomena such as solar storms, which can have consequences on the activity of satellites but also of power plants and other human activities.

Global soil moisture map (Image MIT/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

An article published in the journal “Nature Geoscience” describes an analysis of data collected during the first year of NASA’s SMAP satellite’s mission. The results were surprising, especially because the data about the soil’s upper layer has a kind of memory of weather, more than you might think from theoretical models or from incomplete surveys carried out prior to this mission.

The Sentinel-1B satellite blasting off atop a Soyuz-STA rocket (Photo ESA–Manuel Pedoussaut)

A few hours ago, the Sentinel-1B satellite, part of the Copernicus / GMES, was launched from the Kourou spaceport, in French Guiana, on a Soyuz-STA/Fregat-M rocket. After about 25 minutes, the satellite regularly separated from the rocket’s last stage and started sending signals. Along with it some nanosatellites of the CubeSat type and the Microscope microsatellite of the French space agency CNES were launched.