•−•  ••−•    −•−•  •−  ••−•  •
RF Cafe Morse Code >Hear It<

Job Board

About RF Cafe™

Sitemap

Atmospheric Refraction

Due to variations in the density of the atmosphere, electromagnetic radiation is refracted according to the varying refractive index with height. Variations decreases linearly with height under standard conditions (no localized disturbances). As a result, the wave gradually curves until, if the wavelength and angle are correct, the signal bends back toward the earth (see graphic below).

As with visible light waves, radio waves must equal a critical angle in  order to be transmitted between regions of different refractive indices. When less than the critical angle is experienced, the waves are bent at the interface back into the medium from which they originate. In the case of an abrupt interface like air and water in a glass, the bending is equally abrupt. Layers of the atmosphere present a much more gradual interface so the reflection tends to exhibit a more curved shape.



Atmospheric refraction of electromagnetic waves vs. frequency - RF Cafe


Pencil refraction in glass of water - RF CafeThis image shows the familiar pencil in a glass of water





Custom Search
More than 10,000 searchable pages indexed.

Your RF Cafe
Progenitor & Webmaster

Click here to read about RF CafeKirt Blattenberger... single-handedly redefining what an engineering website should be.

View the YouTube RF Cafe Intro Video Carpe Diem!
(Seize the Day!)

5th MOB: My USAF radar shop

Airplanes and Rockets: My personal hobby website

Equine Kingdom: My daughter Sally's horse riding website