Picture of the Day: 'First Light' From a New NASA Instrument

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Over the last week of January, NASA scientists ended their engineering checks on the Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) instrument on its Suomi NPP satellite and began collecting data. Above are the first images from CERES, an instrument scientists say will help provide an ever more accurate picture of the Earth's changing climate and atmosphere. The upper image shows the amount of incoming solar energy reflected back to space by the cloud cover, and the lower image shows the amount of heat energy radiated from Earth back to space, with yellow areas radiating the most and blue cold regions and white clouds radiating the least. By studying the two sets of data, scientists hope to gain a better understanding of how cloud cover affects incoming and outgoing energy.

Below, recent Pictures of the Day:

Image: NASA.

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Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

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