New Small Comet Images--Atmospheric Holes

At the right is a raw, unprocessed image of a large atmospheric hole taken with the Earth Camera on board the Polar spacecraft at low altitudes. At bottom right is the same image processed to account for cosmic rays and non-uniform sensitivities of the sensor. The cosmic rays are the bright spots in the image on the top. Note these bright spots do not occur in the vicinity of the atmospheric hole and thus the hole cannot be caused by the correction for cosmic rays as a few critics have claimed. Unprocessed Image
This large atmospheric hole is about 100 kilometers in diameter and is much too large to be accounted for by a camera malfunction. The superposed coastal map shows that the hole occurs near the Mawson Coast of East Antarctica.

This image was taken at 11:45:39 UT on 5 September 1996 when the Polar spacecraft was located at an altitude of 6,400 kilometers and geographic latitude and longitude of 65.9° S and 52.6° E, respectively.
Processed Image w/ map

All data and images are provided courtesy of Dr. Louis A. Frank at the University of Iowa. Any use of these images must credit Dr. Louis A. Frank, The University of Iowa and NASA.