VIIRS is the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite. VIIRS combines the radiometric accuracy of the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR), which is currently flown on the NOAA polar orbiters with the high spatial resolution (0.56 km) of the Operational Linescan System (OLS) flown on DMSP. VIIRS provides imagery of clouds under sunlit conditions in about a dozen bands, and provides coverage in a number of infrared bands for night and day cloud imaging applications. In fact, it was the VIIRS' Day/Night Band sensor that captured the widely popular and beautiful ‘Earth at Night’ Black Marble image [PDF].
VIIRS features multi-band imaging capabilities to support the acquisition of high-resolution atmospheric imagery and generation of a variety of applied products, including visible and infrared imaging of hurricanes and detection of fires, smoke and atmospheric aerosols. VIIRS also provides capabilities to produce higher-resolution and more accurate measurements of sea surface temperature than currently available from the heritage AVHRR instrument on POES, as well as provides an operational capability for ocean-color observations and a variety of derived ocean-color products. The VIIRS instrument is developed by Raytheon Company, El Segundo, California.