How does radar work?

Almost everyone has heard echoes.  When you shout toward a cliff, the sound waves of your voice bounces back as an echo.

Waves Detector

Radar works in much the same way.  It is an electronic device that can detect distant objects by bouncing radio waves off of them and listening for echoes.

Objects such as airplanes and spacecraft reflect radio waves just as they do sound waves.

To detect airplanes and other objects, the radar antenna sends out a beam of radio waves like the beam of a searchlight.  These waves bounce back from solid objects in their path, like echoes, to the radar unit.

If you were looking at radar, you might see the radio wave echoes as small spots of light, called “blips,” on the radar scope, which is something like a round television screen.

Lines on the face of the radar scope show the distance and direction of the object being located.  With radar, we can “see” through fog and darkness. – Dick Rogers


1 Comment

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