microwave sensors

in terms of wavelength, microwaves range from 1 millimeter to 1 meter, and are much longer than the shorter visible (0.38-0.78 micrometer) wavelengths; these longer wavelengths allow microwave energy to penetrate through clouds; because these sensors measure microwave energy, they do not rely on sunlight for illumination so they can acquire images regardless of time of day; can be either passive or active; passive sensors detect and record naturally upwelling microwave energy emitted from objects; active sensors generate their own beam of energy, generally with an antenna, which then detects the returned energy patterns (backscatter) that indicate the presence of features and their position relative to the sensor; radar (radio detection and ranging) was an original active microwave sensor that became widely operational with the onset of World War II.