(GIF by @himawari8)
When Jeremy Low, a Philly-based paralegal and self-taught dev, gave us a much appreciated retweet the other day, associate editor Juliana Reyes couldn’t help but lurk around his Twitter account and see that he’d created a curious lil bot called Himawari8.
The bot, named after Japan’s Himawari 8 weather satellite, does nothing but select imagery coming from the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) at Colorado State University and churn out GIFs of Mother Earth every three hours or so.
Like this one:
— himawari8bot (@himawari8bot) January 12, 2017
Or this one:
— himawari8bot (@himawari8bot) January 8, 2017
“When I started the project, the bot was just tweeting out full disk images like this and the only text in the tweet was the timestamp of the last image in the GIF,” Low said in an email. “But then I went back and started fiddling with the code and having the bot tweet out close crop videos like this one.”
Himawari8bot went live in April of 2016 and it has yielded some pretty, er, interesting uses so far:
“One odd thing has been the Flat-Earth-Twitter folks,” Low said. “They’ve got this thing where they think NASA is fake and in on a conspiracy to … something? But because the bot takes its feed from a Japanese weather satellite, it’s often used to prove the Flat Earthers wrong or convince them of a spherical Earth, because somehow they’ll trust the Japanese?”