Cloud satellites finally see clear skies

It has been a long wait, but two satellites that will study how clouds affect our climate are finally in orbit around the Earth. After delays by strikes, bad weather and dodgy phone connections, CloudSat and CALIPSO were launched on 28 April from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The satellites will fly in formation, taking measurements of the same part of the sky within 15 seconds of each other. Their goal is to enable scientists to understand exactly how clouds absorb and reflect the Sun’s radiation. This effect helps to regulate the Earth’s climate in a way that depends on the clouds’ altitude, density and colour.

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