1. Meteorological Satellites

This Web site uses observation images by the following satellites.

Satellite ID Nickname Satellite name
GMS1 Himawari 1 Geostationary Meteorological Satellite 1
GMS2 Himawari 2 Geostationary Meteorological Satellite 2
GMS3 Himawari 3 Geostationary Meteorological Satellite 3
GMS4 Himawari 4 Geostationary Meteorological Satellite 4
GMS5 Himawari 5 Geostationary Meteorological Satellite 5
GOE9 (Pacific) GOES 9 Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite 9
MTS1 Himawari 6 MTSAT-1R
MTS2 Himawari 7 MTSAT-2
HMW8 Himawari 8 HIMAWARI-8

The period of usage is summarized in the following. Notice that the lack of period o GMS1 between 1979 and 1981 is due to the unavailability of data, and GMS1 (Himawari 1) satellite had been operational for this period.

ID Start End
GMS1 1978-12-01 0:00 (UTC) 1979-12-01 9:00 (UTC)
GMS1 1981-03-01 0:00 (UTC) 1981-12-21 0:00 (UTC)
GMS2 1981-12-21 3:00 (UTC) 1984-01-21 0:00 (UTC)
GMS1 1984-01-21 9:00 (UTC) 1984-06-29 12:00 (UTC)
GMS2 1984-06-29 18:00 (UTC) 1984-09-27 0:00 (UTC)
GMS3 1984-09-27 6:00 (UTC) 1989-12-04 0:00 (UTC)
GMS4 1989-12-04 6:00 (UTC) 1995-06-13 0:00 (UTC)
GMS5 1995-06-13 6:00 (UTC) 2003-05-22 0:00 (UTC)
GOE9 2003-05-22 6:00 (UTC) 2005-06-28 3:00 (UTC)
MTS1 2005-06-28 4:00 (UTC) 2007-06-04 4:00 (UTC)
MTS2 2007-06-04 5:00 (UTC) 2007-06-06 4:00 (UTC)
MTS1 2007-06-06 5:00 (UTC) 2009-02-17 3:00 (UTC)
MTS2 2009-02-17 4:00 (UTC) 2009-02-18 10:00 (UTC)
MTS1 2009-02-18 11:00 (UTC) 2009-11-11 14:00 (UTC)
MTS2 2009-11-11 15:00 (UTC) 2009-11-12 3:00 (UTC)
MTS1 2009-11-12 4:00 (UTC) 2009-11-15 23:00 (UTC)
MTS2 2009-11-16 2:00 (UTC) 2009-11-27 3:00 (UTC)
MTS1 2009-11-27 4:00 (UTC) 2010-07-01 2:00 (UTC)
MTS2 2010-07-01 3:00 (UTC) 2010-10-07 2:00 (UTC)
MTS1 2010-10-07 6:00 (UTC) 2010-12-22 2:00 (UTC)
MTS2 2010-12-22 3:00 (UTC) 2011-08-03 0:00 (UTC)
MTS1 2011-08-03 3:00 (UTC) 2011-08-16 1:00 (UTC)
MTS2 2011-08-16 2:00 (UTC) 2011-11-01 2:00 (UTC)
MTS1 2011-11-01 3:00 (UTC) 2011-12-26 4:00 (UTC)
MTS2 2011-12-26 5:00 (UTC) 2012-10-18 2:00 (UTC)
MTS1 2012-10-18 3:00 (UTC) 2012-12-26 2:00 (UTC)
MTS2 2012-12-26 3:00 (UTC) 2013-10-22 2:00 (UTC)
MTS1 2013-10-22 3:00 (UTC) 2013-12-19 2:00 (UTC)
MTS2 2013-12-19 3:00 (UTC) 2014-11-10 2:00 (UTC)
MTS1 2014-11-10 3:00 (UTC) 2014-11-28 2:00 (UTC)
MTS2 2014-11-28 3:00 (UTC) 2015-07-07 1:00 (UTC)
HMW8 2015-07-07 2:00 (UTC) Present

The history of those satellites are summarized in History of Japanese meteorological satellites and Major specs of meteorological satellites. (in Japanese).

2. Meteorological Satellite Images (Photographs)

This web site uses the word "meteorological satellite images" instead of "meteorological satellite photographs" because the way the satellite takes pictures of the earth is different from the ordinary cameras with respect to the following points.

  1. The satellite image is not taken in the same way as a photograph that is shot by closing the shutter of the camera and takes the whole picture at once. A geostationary meteorological satellite, such as "Himawari," needs more than 20 minutes to scan from the Arctic down to the Antarctic, so clouds in the Arctic and the Antarctic have 20 minutes difference in the time of shot. The time of shot at Tokyo, for example, is either 30m25s or 18m25s of every hour for GOES-9, according to the fixed point observation at Tokyo.
  2. The satellite image takes information other than light visible to the human eye. Infrared light, for example, makes us possible to take pictures even in the night, compared to visible light which is only effective with the presence of the sun.

Those are the reasons we prefer the word "image" than "photograph." More detailed information is available in the following pages.

In terms of visible images, on the other hand, sensors work effectively only during daytime. Hence we set up the schedule of generating visible images as follows. Here JST is explained in The expression of time.

  • Himawari 1 through 5 3 times / day (09 JST, 12 JST and 15 JST)
  • GOES 9, Himawari 6 through 7 7 times / day (every hour from 09 JST through 15 JST)

Reference: A meteorological satellite that can observe lights even in the night