Reality of Atmospheric Holes in NASA Images Validated by New Automated Survey

VIS Image w/ Big Hole

If the atmospheric holes are real, the critics say, there should be large ones as well as small ones. There are. This is an example of a very large atmospheric hole observed by the Polar spacecarft at low altitude on April 23, 1997. The number of pixels for this atmospheric hole is large and the diameter of the hole is more than 60 miles.
The proof is at hand. For 13 years University of Iowa space physicists Louis A. Frank and John B. Sigwarth have denied that the "atmospheric holes" appearing in their spacecraft images are "instrumental noise," insisting instead that they are produced by a constant influx of small comets into Earth's atmosphere. Now for the first time a thorough examination of the various "glitches" the critics claim are responsible for the controversial "atmospheric holes" has been published in the January 1, 1999 issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research.

The conclusion? "If you strip the 'noise' from the data," notes Frank, "what remains clearly validates the reality of atmospheric holes. The critics who have studied the data and say the atmospheric holes are noise have mistakenly and quite remarkably--been analyzing the noise itself."

To coincide with the publication of their ground-breaking, peer-reviewed paper entitled "Atmospheric Holes: Instrumental and Geophysical Effects" in the Journal of Geophysical Research [full text], Frank and Sigwarth have released several new images from NASA's Polar spacecraft, showing more of the atmospheric holes and the remarkable small comets that produce them.

In their latest study , Frank and Sigwarth utilized an automated approach to searching for the atmospheric holes in the Polar images. The strict parameters of this new "hands-off" survey eliminates the effects of several instrumental artifacts, including those produced by energetic electrons in Earth's outer radiation zone, by "hot spots"--or non-uniform pixel sensitivities--in the sensor, and by the camera's sensitivity to long wavelength radiation produced by high altitude clouds.

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