I have seen many times that their are two kinds of Satellite Images shown on the websites like Skymet for India i.e.

  • Meteosat satellite images

  • Insat satellite images

I want to understand the basic difference between them.

I am here Adding 2 satellite Images(Meteosat and Insat Images Respectively) for the date of 20/02/2016 and time 8:00AM (IST) to make you understand better visually.Meteosat image

Insat Image

Thanks for your help in advance.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The website you cited does not tell which satellite it actually is, nor what instrument or channel was used. The difference could result from a different composition of channels, i.e. the second one shows rather high clouds indicating more infrared/ less visible component in it. $\endgroup$
    – Lukas
    Commented Mar 21, 2016 at 13:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ That is why I have asked here..I wanted to clarify that. $\endgroup$
    – Mani
    Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 3:56
  • $\begingroup$ The problem between the two are that both the images are from two different sensors. Both sensors would have different spectral resolution, radiometric resolution, variations in observation times and angle etc.. there are so many factors that cause the differences. $\endgroup$
    – Raj Bhagat
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 22:13
  • $\begingroup$ This gives some guidelines as to why it may be different, but doesn't actually answer the question. $\endgroup$
    – Gimelist
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 0:01
  • $\begingroup$ Of course we can't give direct answers for these. I work in this field unless we have access to satellite data and sensor information we can't answer them. These are snapshots of them not the original satellite data which can't be shared. Hence without the data we can't exactly pinpoint. The asker has access to the sensor information. Hence it is good to just direct where to look rather and speculate. $\endgroup$
    – Raj Bhagat
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 2:51

4 Answers 4



The Meteosat series of satellites are geostationary meteorological satellites operated by EUMETSAT under the Meteosat Transition Programme (MTP) and the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) program.


INSAT-3D is the first Indian geostationary satellite, equipped with sounder instrument that provides frequent good quality atmospheric profiles (temperature, humidity) over Indian landmass and adjoining areas.

More information is here: Two generations of active Meteosat satellites, Meteosat First Generation (MFG) and Meteosat Second Generation (MSG), providing images of the full Earth disc, and data for weather forecasts.

and here: INSAT-3D, Advanced Weather Satellite, Completes Two Years in the Orbit.

  • $\begingroup$ I wanted to understand the difference between the images $\endgroup$
    – Mani
    Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 8:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Mani, then you should edit the question appropriately to avoid confusions. $\endgroup$
    – arkaia
    Commented Mar 21, 2016 at 11:11
  • $\begingroup$ What part is confusing? $\endgroup$
    – Mani
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 4:51

Let me try to add some more information for Mr Mani.

Meteosats are satellites dedicated for meterological purposes alone operated by EUMETSAT. INSAT satellites by India are multipurpose satellites which serve other purposes also in addition to meteorology.


These are not pure satellite images.

On the images shown in the question, one can see bathymetry in the oceans that cannot be seen from a satellite image. Rather, those images use a static image background (the land may be from a satellite mosaic, but not the ocean) along with a calculated cloud mask, then show the satellite image only where there are clouds (probably an infrared image where cold clouds are white). The differences between the two satellite images therefore have less to do with instrument differences than with differences in post-processing.

From NASA WorldView we can see what an actual infrared satellite image at this time looks like (again with cold clouds white, hot surfaces black), in this case from VIIRS on the polar orbiter Suomi NPP at a wavelength of 13.3 µm (I didn't immediately have IODC/Seviri images at hand, I may check mack later for those):

Source: NASA Worldview, imagery from VIIRS


Some difference i photography is obvious. Insat does not provide images of scattered, light clouds which are essential for a lay observer to form a view about possibility of rain.


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