Letter | Published:

Evaporation of Meteors

Nature volume 160, page 91 (19 July 1947) | Download Citation



The publication of radar photographs in The Times of October 11, 1946, and also in Nature on December 28, has brought the question of ionic clouds again to the fore. There is no evidence that photographs are of visible meteors. They are probably, of clouds of electrons at or near the E-layer, usually known as ‘scatter clouds’. Visible meteors move. These do not, as was pointed out in the note in The Times. (By visible meteors, I mean large meteors which would be visible to the naked eye if there were no ordinary cloud obstruction.) The second photograph in Nature of December 28 is, I think, a secondary effect of a meteor shower. We have, in fact, a photographic record taken on November 15, 1937, showing occasions on which visible meteors have produced no scatter cloud for longish wave-lengths between 32·35 and 16·13 metres. The picture in The Times may be of scatter clouds produced by invisible meteors evaporating; but it should be noted that meteors are by no means the only cause of scatter clouds, which may equally well be produced before Dellinger ‘fades’. We have considerable evidence of this.

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  1. 1.

    J. Inst. Elect. Eng., 71, 405 (1932).

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  1. Weatheroak, Danbury, Essex.



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