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.
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.