For 12 years, a sentinel stood watch over the western hemisphere, acting as our eye-in-the-sky against every conceivable form of weather from the smallest clouds passing over the landscape, up to the raging hurricanes bearing down on us from the Atlantic Ocean.
As of Friday, August 16, 2013, NOAA's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite 12 (GOES-12) was decommissioned. It was launched in August 2001, initially acting as a spare in case any of the other GOES satellites suffered an outage, and it went into operational mode starting in April 2003, taking over as the dedicated satellite that keeps track of weather patterns over the eastern half of North America. After suffering some thruster problems in 2010, it gave up its post to become the first 'GOES South' to monitor weather over South America, and GOES-13 took its place.
To commemorate its time of service, NOAA put together this little tribute to the satellite, showing off 10 years of weather from GOES-12's vantage point in space:
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The video goes by quite fast, but there are some time-stamps of particular note:
• You can see the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season for a full 10 seconds starting at 42 seconds in. This was the most active hurricane season in recorded history, and it was also the season that spawned infamous Hurricane Katrina (at roughly 47 sec).
• The North American blizzard of 2009 can be seen at around 2:02.
• 'Snowmageddon' of February 2010 happens at about 2:04.
• The 'Super Outbreak' of tornadoes in the United States, in April 2011, is between 2:24 and 2:25.
• Superstorm Sandy happens right around 2:50.
Thanks GOES-12! You did a great job! Enjoy your retirement!
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