The extreme weather conditions experienced in recent weeks have given a rare view of an almost cloud-free Europe, taken by Europe’s weather satellite MSG-1, launched a year ago. Meteosat Second Generation 1 (MSG-1) is the first of a new generation of weather satellites, developed in close cooperation between the European Space Agency (ESA) and EUMETSAT, the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites.Built by ESA and operated by EUMETSAT, MSG-1 was launched by Ariane, a year ago on 28 August at 22:45 UT, from Europe’s spaceport in French Guiana. MSG-1 is positioned in geostationary orbit, at 10.5°W 36 000 kilometres above the Earth. This image illustrates the excellent performance of the innovative radiometer carried by MSG-1. The MSG system will provide an essential service for weather experts for at least the next 12 years. This continuity of service is important not only to make short-term forecasts, but also to investigate global weather trends in the longer term. This enhanced composite image was taken on 10 August 2003, at midday (12:00 UT) and shows a virtually cloud-free Europe. Only the UK and Finland are partially obscured by cloud.