There are several satellites that take photos of the full disk of the earth on a regular basis, but the most impressive are the three above. The first two (Himawari-8 and GOES-16) are geostationary satellites taking photos from 22,236 miles above the Earth's equator. The third, DSCOVR is located in an orbit between the Earth and the Sun, about one million miles away. All three take several photos a day.
- USA: GOES 16 & 17 (RAMMB/CIRA SLIDER) (Zoomable, HD) , NEXLAB, NOAA Full Resolution (17)
- Japan: Himawari-8 (JME), RAMDIS Feeds , JME Feed (11K), NICT zoomable archive (best).
- USA: DSCOVR (L1) (Full disk rotating Earth from a fixed relative point)
- Europe: Meteosat-10 (11K), Historical Viewer (slow)
- India: INSAT
- Russia: Elektro-L (11K) (Ntsomz interactive view and download) (FTP Archive)
- USA: GOES-West & GOES-East. (Raw West, Raw East)
Himawari-8 is a Japanese weather satellite, and so is in orbit over the Equator with a good view of Japan. It is remarkably high resolution, producing images 11,000 pixels square (121 Megapixels), and in color. It can go up to 22,000 pixels (484 megapixels) in B&W (using just the red wavelength of light)
The following link goes to a smaller version of the full-disk image (5500x5500) but still gives you an idea of how detailed it is. Remember it does this every ten minutes:
If you zoom in you can see detailed cloud patterns like these over Japan. The resolution is high enough that you can match up the clouds with the ground truth observations of the same clouds viewed from the ground.
You can find these images, and animations, at:
Remember this is just a small part of the 121 megapixel image of the globe that Himawari-8 takes every 10 minutes.
Himawari-9 is the identical sister satellite operating as a backup and replacement for Himawari-8
GOES-16 Is basically NASA's version of Himawari-8. Like the Himawari series, the GOES series have all been weather satellites. Their primary mission is helping forecast the weather, so up until now they have just given black and white images (one visible wavelength, and several infrared wavelengths). GOES satellites have actually been taking full disk images for many years, but GOES-16 is by far the best, with a higher resolution camera, and color. Here's a comparison of GOES-16 and GOES-13 taken at about the same time. Notice the position is different, GOES-16 being further west than GOES-13
GOES-16 is not yet fully operational, but will be soon and will send back 100 Megapixel images. Here's a link to an early example full size image.
Again we can zoom in to see sufficient detail to compare with "ground truth" observations from below. Here we can see individual airplane contrails off the coast of California.
Ten years ago I used MODIS imagery to match ground truth observation to the satellite's viewpoint:
The ancestor of the GOES satellites is ATS-1, the first satellite to give full disk images of the Earth back in December 1966.
DSCOVR lacks the high resolution of the other two, but more than makes up for it with it's unique position in space. It's orbiting a point between the Earth and the Sun called a Lagrange point, where the combined gravitational and centrifugal forces balance out to keep it in place between the Earth and the Sun
That means it's always in daylight, overhead at noon everywhere in the world, and so you see the earth spinning below you, fully illuminated.
Occasionally it will see the moon pass in front of the earth.
(the colored fringes are due to red, green and blue images being taken separately and combined, the moon is moving relatively fast, so they overlap a bit)
GOES-16 and Himawari-8 are the best single image full-disk photos we can get at the moment, but there are some others worth looking at.
Meteosat-10 is the European version, one of several European weather satellites, it has half the resolution of GOES-16 and Himawari-8, but still produces great full-disk images of the globe.
Here's one from this morning:
Elektro-L is Russia's version, similar specification to Himawari-8, with a 121 Megapixel camera.
Full Disk images:
Feng yun 4A is China's version. But does not seem to be full operational yet.
However older Feng Yun 2 satellites have been taking full-disk images for nearly 20 years.
There are also similar satellites from India (INSAT) and Korea (COMS).
For a detailed overview of the history all such satellites, see:
A flterable list of satellites: