Radar Astronomy.

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Radar Astronomy

        I        INTRODUCTION  

 Radar Astronomy, branch of astronomy in which celestial objects are studied by sending radio waves to them and analysing the echoes. The first radar-astronomical observations were made in 1946, when radio echoes were returned from the Moon. As larger antennas and more powerful radio transmitters became available, successful radar studies were made of the Moon, the planets Mercury, Venus, and Mars, and the corona of the Sun. (see also Radio Astronomy).


        II        EQUIPMENT  
The equipment used in Earth-based radar astronomy consists of a large, single-beam antenna (usually a large, steerable, parabolic reflector), a sensitive radio receiver, and a data-recording and data-processing system. The transmitter is capable of generating tremendous radio power; average powers of as much as 1 million watts have been used. Similar but smaller antennas are used on space probes.

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The radio receiver is much like the radiometers used in radio astronomy, and it should be able to withstand the very large signal that the transmitter puts into it without damage or impairment of sensitivity.

        III        METEOR ASTRONOMY  
Quite simple radar equipment has been used to measure the reflections from the ionized trails formed as meteoroids enter and burn up in the upper atmosphere. Such trails reflect best when they are in a direction perpendicular to the beam of radio waves from the antenna. Observers can find the direction from which the meteor has come, and, by observing the way the ...

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