The History And Relevance Of The Doppler Effect

| December 6, 2018 @ 2:30 pm


(Credit: Physics Today)

DISCUSSION: Over the last two centuries, there is little to no doubt that atmospheric science observational and forecasting capabilities have come quite a long way. One of the premiere technologies which is associated with how far atmospheric science over the past 200 + years is the invention of the world-famous Doppler Radar technology which is based upon the fundamental principle known as the Doppler Effect. The so-called “Doppler Effect” which is what the modern Doppler Radar observational platform is based upon was invented by Christian Doppler. This was a historic discovery during the earlier part of the 19th century since this was a discovery which would go on to forever change the course of history.

Attached below is an excerpt which is from a corresponding Physics Today article: “Born on 29 November 1803 in Salzburg, Austria, physicist Christian Doppler proposed the phenomenon that enables astronomers to determine the velocity of distant objects. He studied mathematics at the Vienna Polytechnic Institute and math, mechanics, and astronomy at the University of Vienna. Doppler had shaky health throughout his life, and he had trouble securing a stable professorship. Nonetheless he produced several important papers, none more influential than “On the colored light of the double stars and certain other stars of the heavens” in 1842. He theorized that the colors of two stars orbiting each other would appear to change slightly, due to one star moving away from the observer and the other moving closer. More generally, Doppler proposed that the apparent frequency of light or sound waves emanating from an object changes depending on the object’s motion toward or away from the observer. Scientists in many fields, particularly astronomy, depend on the Doppler effect. Stars and galaxies moving away from Earth shift toward the red part of the color spectrum (red-shifted), while astronomical objects moving toward Earth are blue-shifted. Scientists analyzing the distance to and motion of stars and galaxies have determined that the universe is expanding at an ever-faster rate.”

Upon discovering the Doppler Effect concept which is described in the excerpt attached above, this transformed the way in which mankind was able to interpret how sound and velocity works in the context of time and space in order to anticipate the movement of hydrometeors. Therefore, this is the concept which instigated the development of the modernized Doppler Radar which uses the Doppler Effect to produce velocity data to project and predict the speed and directional movement of different types of objects from a given distance.

To learn more about other past historic weather history topics from around the world, be sure to click here!

© 2018 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz

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