Radar for Detecting Planes and other Objects
Replayed from a 1940s era comic book
The picture above came from an early 1946 comic book. Radar was new at that time and little was known of all the uses it has matured into today. One use most of us definitely wish had never been thought of is the radar gun – that devilish little gun the cops use to catch speeders. It’s probably very few drivers who haven’t driven faster than the posted speed limit at one time or another. Woe is he or she that gets caught speeding with such a gun. The penalties are quite severe nowadays, especially in some California areas and cities.
Some Facts about Radar
Radar was secretly developed by several nations before and during World War II. The term RADAR was coined in 1940 by the United States Navy as an acronym for RAdio Detection And Ranging. The term radar has since entered English and other languages as the common noun radar, losing all capitalization.
Radar is an object detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio waves or microwaves which bounce off any object in their path. The object returns a tiny part of the wave’s energy to a dish or antenna which is usually located at the same site as the transmitter.
Radar can also be used to detect asteroids and other natural space objects as long as they are large enough or close enough to be detected. The information provided by radar includes the bearing and range (and therefore position) of the object from the radar scanner. It is thus used in many different fields where the need for such positioning is crucial. The first use of radar was for military purposes: to locate air, ground and sea targets. This evolved in the civilian field into applications for aircraft, ships, and roads.
In aviation, aircraft are equipped with radar devices that warn of aircraft or other obstacles in or approaching their path, display weather information, and give accurate altitude readings. Marine radars are used to measure the bearing and distance of ships to prevent collision with other ships, to navigate, and to fix their position at sea when within range of shore or other fixed references such as islands, buoys, and lightships. In port or in harbor, vessel traffic service radar systems are used to monitor and regulate ship movements in busy waters. Police forces use radar guns to monitor vehicle speeds on the roads.
Meteorologists use radar to monitor precipitation and wind. It has become the primary tool for short-term weather forecasting and watching for severe weather such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, winter storms, precipitation types, etc. Geologists use specialized ground-penetrating radars to map the composition of Earth’s crust.
More about Radar
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