Nov 29, 2013 9:17 AM by Stephen Bowers
Did you know you see the sunrise and sunset on weather radar? It's true!
Check out this image from First Alert 5 Live Doppler Radar just at 7:05 this morning.
See that straight line from near La Junta southeast through Baca County and into Kansas and Oklahoma? That is the sunrise! We can see sunrise and sunset on most days from a lot of radar sites across the country.
The radar emits a pulse of electromagnetic microwave energy that reflects off of rain drops, snow flakes, sleet pellets, hail stones, and even bugs, birds, and planes. That reflection shows up as an "echo" on radar. It turns out the sun emits all kinds of its own energy, and some of that energy is in electromagnetic microwave energy. There's a narrow window of opportunity for weather radars to see it.
Our radar doesn't know it's from the sun and not precipitation, but it sees the sun's energy and shows us what it thinks is an echo in the atmosphere. Watch for it. It happens all the time.