GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new weather satellite launched this week, and the data it collects will be extremely beneficial for meteorologists. 

The satellite is the third of three Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) that have launched. It is currently referred to as GOES-T, but it will be christened GOES-18 once in orbit. It was successfully launched shortly after 4:30 PM on Tuesday from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. 

These satellites are valuable for meteorologists since they provide images of the atmosphere and measure other atmospheric variables. In addition, they monitor space weather, environmental hazards, and lighting activity.

GOES-T will primarily monitor the western United States and the Pacific Ocean once in orbit. We typically use images from GOES-16 in West Michigan, which monitors the eastern United States. 

For those hoping to do some stargazing or planet spotting this week, you may have to get up early. The time of sunrise is getting earlier with each day, and most planets will be visible in the morning and not the evening. 

Venus is bright in the southeast before sunrise, and Mars is the fainter planet nearby. 

Saturn and Mercury were in conjunction yesterday. They are very low on the horizon in the southeast sky before sunrise, and likely hard to spot with the first light of the rising sun. Jupiter is not currently visible.