Have you seen what looks like a storm on radar? Radar can detect more than just rain and snow

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Have you noticed a “storm” on radar over south-central Indiana (Bartholomew County) the last couple days? If so, you might have wondered why the radar was showing a storm, yet the skies are mainly clear.
Guardian Radar detects military chaff over Bartholomew, Jackson and Jennings counties Wednesday afternoon.

Guardian Radar detects military chaff over Bartholomew, Jackson and Jennings counties Wednesday afternoon.

While we mainly use radar to detect precipitation in the air, it can also pick up other elements. Anything that reflects energy from the radar beam will show up on the radar scope. In this case, military chaff from Camp Atterbury is reflecting energy from the radar beam back to the radar antenna.

Miltary ChaffChaff is radar countermeasure used by the military to “hide” from radar-guided missiles. Chaff is made of thin pieces of aluminum or metallized glass or plastic fibers. Aircraft create small clouds of chaff to confuse radar-guided missiles in hopes the missiles target the chaff instead of aircraft. The United States military began experimenting with chaff during World War II.

A spokesperson from Camp Atterbury says Blackhawk helicopters from the Indiana National Guard have been flying missions over the area Wednesday.

Training will be increasing at the base during the summer months.

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