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NOAA's new weather satellite shows lightning in real time from spaceby Circa News
Science

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) newest weather satellite shows lightning in real time from space. 

The new GOES-16 weather satellite is in practice mode until it's officially put in service this spring. NOAA, however, has been posting videos of what the satellite is capable of capturing. GOES-16 will give "NOAA National Weather Service forecasters richer information about lightning that will help them alert the public to dangerous weather," NOAA said in a release.

WATCH  |  This video shows storms developing over southeast Texas on Feb. 14, 2017. What's even more amazing is the fact that the video is captured in real-time and isn't a timelapse.

This is the first lightning detector in geostationary orbit, NOAA said Monday. 

"The mapper continually looks for lightning flashes in the Western Hemisphere, so forecasters know when a storm is forming, intensifying and becoming more dangerous," NOAA noted in its press release. "Rapid increases of lightning are a signal that a storm is strengthening quickly and could produce severe weather."

The new mapper is also capable of detecting in-cloud lightning, which NOAA says often occurs "five to 10 minutes or more before potentially deadly cloud-to-ground strikes."

Scientists say this new technology could give forecasters more time to alert those who may be in danger and unaware of a developing threat. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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