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The Sun, the Earth's Atmosphere, and Radio Transmission


THE immense present-day importance of radio communication has directed the attention of a wider circle than ever before to the conditions prevailing at great heights in the atmosphere. Even to the professional meteorologist it seemed formerly that what happens above a height of 30 or 40 kilometres has no bearing on the practical affairs of humanity, however interesting the problems of these upper levels might be to the pure theorist. Almost the only influence of these levels upon the technical operations of mankind seemed to consist in the occasional interruption of telegraphic communication at times of great magnetic storms and auroral displays; the interference was pretty clearly due to currents induced in the earth and the cables by the rapidly varying magnetic field, but the direct association of the latter with the upper atmosphere was somewhat hypothetical, though the auror e were quite indubitably atmospheric phenomena.

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