Video: Flying under Aeolus

February 8, 2019, European Space Agency
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Following the launch of Aeolus on 22 August 2018, scientists have been busy fine-tuning and calibrating this latest Earth Explorer satellite. Aeolus carries a revolutionary instrument, which comprises a powerful laser, a large telescope and a very sensitive receiver. It works by emitting short, powerful pulses –50 pulses per second –of ultraviolet light from a laser down into the atmosphere.

The instrument then measures the backscattered signals from , and to provide vertical profiles that show the speed of the world's winds in the lowermost 30 km of the atmosphere. These measurements are needed to improve weather forecasts. As part of the working being done to calibrate this novel mission, scientists have been taking similar measurements from an aircraft carrying an airborne version of Aeolus'instrument. The pilot flies the plane under the satellite as it orbits above so that measurements of wind can be compared.

Credit: European Space Agency

Explore further: Aeolus laser shines light on wind

Related Stories

Aeolus laser shines light on wind

September 6, 2018

Following the launch of Aeolus on 22 August, this extraordinary satellite's instrument has been turned on and is now emitting pulses of ultraviolet light from its laser, which is fundamental to measuring Earth's wind. And, ...

Video: Aeolus timelapse

September 17, 2018

This timelapse video shows ESA's Aeolus satellite being prepared for liftoff. It includes shots from the cleanroom in France, its arrival by ship in French Guiana, preparations at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, roll out to ...

Video: Aeolus launch highlights

August 24, 2018

Lifted into orbit on a Vega rocket from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana on 22 August 2018, ESA's Aeolus satellite will measure winds around the globe and play a key role in our quest to better understand the workings ...

Wind satellite shows off

June 6, 2018

Before ESA's Aeolus satellite is packed up and shipped to French Guiana for liftoff in August, media representatives had the chance to see this wind measuring Earth Explorer satellite standing proud in the cleanroom.

Recommended for you

Archaeologists discover Incan tomb in Peru

February 16, 2019

Peruvian archaeologists discovered an Incan tomb in the north of the country where an elite member of the pre-Columbian empire was buried, one of the investigators announced Friday.

Where is the universe hiding its missing mass?

February 15, 2019

Astronomers have spent decades looking for something that sounds like it would be hard to miss: about a third of the "normal" matter in the Universe. New results from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory may have helped them ...

What rising seas mean for local economies

February 15, 2019

Impacts from climate change are not always easy to see. But for many local businesses in coastal communities across the United States, the evidence is right outside their doors—or in their parking lots.

The friendly extortioner takes it all

February 15, 2019

Cooperating with other people makes many things easier. However, competition is also a characteristic aspect of our society. In their struggle for contracts and positions, people have to be more successful than their competitors ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.