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How Does Radar Work?

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Radar is an electronic detection system that employs radio waves for determining the speed, position, or direction of moving objects. In radar detection systems, it is often used to detect other ships, airplanes, vehicles, satellites, guided missile, and other military structures. Radar is an extremely useful technology due to its ability to provide accurate navigation. In fact, the radar is one of the most frequently detected navigation systems all over the world. It can easily detect on-road vehicles such as cars and trucks, off-road vehicles like motorbikes, boats, snow mobiles, and so on.

Radar operates by sending out reflected pulses from an antenna in the receiver. When these pulses return, the antenna receives them and interprets the signals by emitting these pulses back to a monitor which displays the information gathered on the radar signal. The monitor uses a complex mathematical algorithm to locate the source of the reflected pulses and then interprets the received signal by locating the exact location on the earth where the reflected pulses were originated.

Radar has been in existence for over 100 years and continues to be improved upon in order to scan the atmosphere more accurately and effectively. Radio waves travel through the atmosphere at the speed of sound, which is nearly 7 mph. As the speed of the radio waves increase above the speed of sound, the waves become dampened. This dampening effect produces a layer of “free energy” behind certain objects. This is how radar is able to detect moving objects on the ground.