The European Space Agency's new extreme-weather monitoring satellite, MSG-4, just released its first image of Earth — and it's one spectacular view. Taken with the satellite's Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager (SEVIRI) instrument, the photo showcases the diverse biomes of Africa; the subtropical desert dominates the Sahara, while tropical and temperate rainforests make up the majority of the continent's southern half.
MSG-4 is the fourth and final satellite in the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) satellite series, a collaboration by the ESA and EUMETSAT (European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites). Launched on July 15th aboard an Arianne 5 rocket, MSG-4 is set to replace one of the ESA's aging MSG satellites currently in space. This latest image indicates the satellite is working well and is on its way to being fully operational in six months.
The goal of the MSG satellites is to provide important information and imagery relating to high-impact weather forecasting. Data from these satellites are also used to study meteorology and climate change, as well as enhance risk prevention and disaster warnings.