the first color picture of the Earth taken from the ATS-3 satellite

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  • 1 Planetary Radiations Branch, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
  • | 2 ATS - Project, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
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The third Applications Technology Satellite (ATS-3) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was launched into a geo-synchronous orbit at 35,800 km altitude over Brazil on 5 November 1967. One of the meteorological experiments onboard is the Multicolor Spin-Scan Cloud Camera. It provides instantaneous high resolution color pictures of the whole disc of the Earth in a 30-min sequence. Three images are obtained by simultaneous scanning through three different color filters (green, red, blue). The three separate signals are transmitted to the ground station where the multicolor picture is produced.

The first picture of 10 November 1967 is shown on the front page of this Bulletin. The superiority over monochrome pictures (black and white) is demonstrated by the strikingly better contrast between clouds and the background (Earth surface).

A large number of interesting meteorological details are shown in the picture and pointed out in this article. A montage of the ATS-3 picture and an ATS-1 photograph taken on the same day over the Pacific Ocean provides a synoptic picture of the cloud distribution over more than two thirds of the globe.

These successful experiments constitute a large step in obtaining a complete survey on short-time changes of global cloudiness as required for the World Weather Watch.

1 On leave from the Freie Universitaet Berlin, Germany, as a National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council Senior Postdoctoral Resident Research Associate with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The third Applications Technology Satellite (ATS-3) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was launched into a geo-synchronous orbit at 35,800 km altitude over Brazil on 5 November 1967. One of the meteorological experiments onboard is the Multicolor Spin-Scan Cloud Camera. It provides instantaneous high resolution color pictures of the whole disc of the Earth in a 30-min sequence. Three images are obtained by simultaneous scanning through three different color filters (green, red, blue). The three separate signals are transmitted to the ground station where the multicolor picture is produced.

The first picture of 10 November 1967 is shown on the front page of this Bulletin. The superiority over monochrome pictures (black and white) is demonstrated by the strikingly better contrast between clouds and the background (Earth surface).

A large number of interesting meteorological details are shown in the picture and pointed out in this article. A montage of the ATS-3 picture and an ATS-1 photograph taken on the same day over the Pacific Ocean provides a synoptic picture of the cloud distribution over more than two thirds of the globe.

These successful experiments constitute a large step in obtaining a complete survey on short-time changes of global cloudiness as required for the World Weather Watch.

1 On leave from the Freie Universitaet Berlin, Germany, as a National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council Senior Postdoctoral Resident Research Associate with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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