Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2000 April 1
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
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Planet Earth from TIROS 1: First TV Image
Credit: TIROS Program, NASA

Explanation: The Television InfraRed Observational Satellite (TIROS) 1 was the first weather satellite. Launched into a polar orbit 40 years ago (April 1, 1960) equipped with two TV cameras, TIROS 1 was operational for only 78 days but demonstrated the feasibility of monitoring planet Earth's cloud cover and weather patterns from space. TIROS satellites eventually began continuous coverage in 1962 and enabled accurate worldwide weather forecasts and alerts. Above is the first TIROS TV image, taken from an altitude of about 700 kilometers. Crude by contemporary standards, it represents the beginning of what is still one of the most important continuing applications of space technology.

Tomorrow's picture: Eagle Eggs

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.