- The European Space Agency (ESA) tracking the levels of air pollutants around the world has beamed back new views of the Earth’s atmosphere.
- It released satellite images, which show alarming levels of pollution in the national capital region on November 10 – the day air pollution in Delhi and its surrounding areas reached the hazardous levels.
- The images were captured by the ESA’s Sentinel-5P satellite, the sixth for the EC Copernicus environmental monitoring programme, but the first dedicated to monitoring earth’s atmosphere.
- Sentinel-5P also reveals high levels of pollution from power plants in India. The worst of this pollution runs from north of Patna in Bihar to south of Raipur in Chhattisgarh.
Sentinel- 5P satellite:
- Sentinel-5P is the latest spacecraft in a fleet of Earth observers being commissioned by the European Union and the European Space Agency.
- It was launched into an 824 kilometre high orbit by a Russian rocket on October 13 this year.
- It carries an instrument called Tropomi – a spectrometer that observes the reflected sunlight coming up off the Earth, analysing its many different colours. This helps detect the presence of trace gases such as nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulphur dioxide, methane, and carbon monoxide in the atmosphere.
- When fully operational, the new Sentinel will be an extremely powerful tool to monitor air quality.