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Aeolus laser shines light on wind

05 September 2018

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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, this remarkable mission has also already returned a tantalising glimpse of the data it will provide.

Lofted into space on a Vega rocket from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana just two weeks ago, ESA's Earth Explorer Aeolus satellite has been designed to measure winds around the globe.

Aeolus will play a key role in our quest to better understand the workings of the atmosphere and, importantly, this novel mission will also improve weather forecasting.

Michael Rennie from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, added, "At this very early stage in the mission – just three days after the instrument was switched on – Aeolus has already exceeded expectations by delivering data that show clear features of the wind.

"The instrument is not yet even fully calibrated, so these results are just incredible."

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