29 October 2014

Doppler Radar Sees Debris from Antares Explosion

Posted by Dan Satterfield

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Click for larger version.

The NWS Doppler radar at Wakefield,Va detected the debris from the Antares explosion Tuesday evening. Not only that, but it was able to show that this was not rain but debris in the air. Being a dual polarimetric radar it can detect the shape of the particles in the radar beam, and a product called the correlation coefficient showed that the echo was made up of particles that were of all different shapes and sizes. Rainfall usually has a very high correlation coefficient (CC), but debris will have a very low CC. This ability has allowed the debris picked up by tornadoes to be detected, and in this case the debris from a huge explosion involving a fully fueled rocket that exploded upon liftoff!

I was on our news set (we were on air covering the launch live here in Maryland, and I showed the radar images soon after.