Accession Number:

ADA231598

Title:

A Search for Episodic Increases in Upper Atmospheric Water Vapor as Evidence of an Extraterrestrial Source

Descriptive Note:

Master's thesis,

Corporate Author:

AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1990-05-01

Pagination or Media Count:

110.0

Abstract:

This study examines the short-term variability of upper atmospheric water vapor with the intent of examining a proposed extraterrestrial water vapor source. This source would be provided by an influx of the small 12 m in. diameter comets described by Frank et al. 1986. A ground-base microwave 22. 235 GHz radiometer located at Penn State has been measuring the thermal emission of upper atmospheric water vapor since 1984. Over 22,000 20-minute brightness temperature spectra from the period of Nov 1984 through Dec 1988 were analyzed for statistically significant, transient increases of the amounts of water vapor. This signature could indicate the presence of the cometary water vapor source. Individual 20-minute spectra were compared to the local 12-hour mean and variance spectra in a search for this excess signal signature or event. The analysis yielded 111 significant events which could have been caused by the cometary water vapor. The rate of detection 2.9 days between events compares favorably with what could be expected from the small comet theory 1.8 days events. This result is also comparable to the 4.1 daysevents obtained by Adams 1988 using small subset of this data base. After exploring alternate explanations for the observed phenomena, it is concluded that these results support the existence of the small comet hypothesis.

Subject Categories:

  • Astronomy
  • Atmospheric Physics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE