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Atlas of ionograms
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Atlas of ionograms
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    United States, Environmental Science Services Administration., Research Laboratories,
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    "Above the present-day peak altitude of manned aircraft or balloons, and below the practical lower altitude of earth satellites lies the underside of our plant's ionosphere, roughly from 60 to 600 km above the earth. In this region, important for terrestrial radio communication as well as for most of the chemical, magnetic, photoemission, and dynamic processes resulting from the atmospheric absorption of solar radiation, synoptic observations continue to be made by a technique dating back some three decades, the sweep-frequency radio vertical sounding method developed by Breit and Tuve (1926). This method exploits the most intimate interaction between a radio wave and weak plasma that constitutes the ionosphere; it is therefore not surprising that the technique is still in use today, basically unchanged. In fact, it is in the nature of this interaction that the complex spatial structure of the ionosphere is displayed with great sensitivity on these sweep frequency soundings, or ionograms, and it has consequently become possible in recent years to extend this exploitation to the calculation of electron density distributions giving considerable spatial and temporal detail. Although such calculations are essential for most quantitative studies, it has long been sufficient for many purposes to employ ionogram patterns directly in visualizing the highly variable structure of the ionosphere. Thus, day and night, seasonal, geographic, solar-cycle, and disturbance conditions each offer characteristic - - if highly variable - - electron distributions and correspondingly characteristic ionograms. This atlas is primarily directed to the objective of illustrating these characteristic conditions of the ionosphere, by means of ionograms obtained throughout the world. In a secondary way, it also illustrates some features of the various sounding equipment in use throughout the world, and several extensions and adaptations of the technique" - - taken from Introduction, page vi.

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