It's 2018, and meteorologists still can't give us an accurate read on the weather forecast this weekend. But you'll be happy to know Earth's finest weather satellites serve a second purpose: dazzling us with glorious photos of the planet taken from far, far above.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) launched a new weather satellite in March called GOES-17 that patrols space above the Western Hemisphere, giving us advanced imagery and atmospheric measurements of Earth. The atmospheric measurements are, I'm sure, fascinating. But we're here for the imagery.
These images, the first beamed down from GOES-17, were taken on May 20 and released this week. They were taken by combining infrared and visible bands of light, which allows forecasters to track storms in extreme detail. But for us non-scientists, they simply give us a look at our beautiful world.
Here, the sun sets on the Western Hemisphere.
This imagery shows stratocumulus clouds moving over the Pacific.
Here, stratus clouds gather over California.
And finally, smoke plumes from wildfires in Canada.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.