Physics & Astronomy ETDs


G. C. Loos

Publication Date



OH airglow is due to the rotational-vibrational transitions of the hydroxyl radical. Previous efforts to find the airglow's emission height in the atmosphere are discussed. Photography of the infrared airglow with a fast 35mm camera and Eastman Kodak high speed infrared film is described and a method for triangulating emission heights by two station photography is explained. The techniques for reduction of film data to height measurements and velocity measurements are presented. Observations are reported concerning the frequency of occurrence of bright spots and other features on the OH background and the intensity of the airglow as a function of altitude, azimuth and time of night. The effect of clouds on infrared radiation is noted. Observations made on three different evenings in May and June of 1973 are described and a range in measurement of emission heights of 85.5 to 93.2 km is reported with a spread in velocities of 17.9 to 126.7 km/hr. The physical significance of these results is described and restrictions on their interpretation noted. In conclusion, the experimental methods used in this study are evaluated and sources of experimental error indicated. A possible method of analyzing film with a microdensiometer is proposed for future use.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Physics & Astronomy

First Committee Member (Chair)

Alan Winston Peterson

Second Committee Member

David M. Wolfe

Third Committee Member

Christopher Dean

Project Sponsors

Partial support was provided by the NASA Grant NGR 32-004-036.



Document Type