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[see-lom-i-ter, si-] /siˈlɒm ɪ tər, sɪ-/
an automatic device for measuring and recording the height of clouds by projecting a modulated beam of light onto a cloud base, receiving the reflection of light through a photoelectric apparatus, and computing the height by triangulation.
Origin of ceilometer
1940-45; ceil(ing) + -o- + -meter Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for ceilometer


a device for determining the cloud ceiling, esp by means of a reflected light beam
Word Origin
C20: from ceiling + -meter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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ceilometer in Science
An instrument for calculating the altitude of the lowest cloud layer in the sky. A ceilometer consists of a projector that shines an intense beam of light (usually laser light) at the cloud layer and a photoelectric cell that detects the light as it is reflected back. The distance between the projector and the photoelectric cell and the angle at which the light is detected are used to calculate the altitude of the cloud layer by triangulation; alternatively, the time required for the light to be reflected back to the detector may be used to measure the distance, as in radar.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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