Proba-2 eye-to-eye with Typhoon Soulik

Jul 18, 2013

The swirling eye of Typhoon Soulik as it approached Taiwan last Friday is caught by a tiny espresso cup-sized camera on one of ESA's smallest satellites, Proba-2.

The following day Typhoon Soulik brought torrential and winds exceeding 120 km/h to Taiwan and China, triggering mass evacuations.

Less than a cubic metre in size, Proba-2 focuses on observing and . But it also keeps a small eye on its homeworld.

Among the 17 experimental technologies hosted on Proba-2 is the compact Exploration Camera, X-Cam. Housed on the underside of the satellite, the monochrome X-Cam observes in the visible and infrared with a 100° field of view.

X-Cam comes with embedded intelligence to let it judge the best automatic exposures for optimised .

Similar compact imagers could in future keep watch on satellite surfaces to look out for damage or environmental effects.

Swiss manufacturer Micro-Cameras & Space Exploration Swiss manufacturer Micro-Cameras & Space Exploration is due to fly cameras on ESA's Sentinel-1 Earth Observation mission – launching this year – as well as the ExoMars and BepiColombo science missions later this decade.

And in 2014 the company's miniature imager on Rosetta's lander should provide us with our closest view yet of a comet's surface.

This X-Cam image of Typhoon Soulik was acquired on 12 July at 10:14 GMT.

Explore further: Aging Africa

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