A New Kind of Seasonal Tropospheric Propagation?



Meteors are known to enter the Earth atmosphere at speeds ranging from 11 km/s (6.84 miles per second) to 72 km/s (44.74 Miles per second) (http://www.amsmeteors.org/meteor-showers/meteor-faq/) and the meteor phenomena gets visible when it reaches the Thermosphere (part of which is the Ionosphere) between 80 and 120 km (50 and 75 miles) of altitude. At those altitudes meteors encounter the E layer in the Ionosphere and as they burn they leave in their path a trail of ionized particles that lingers in that state for a few seconds. These trails can be used to reflect radio waves, usually from the VHF section of the spectrum (30 to 50 MHz) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteor_burst_communications) to distances beyond the horizon. This is the basis for VHF long-distance “Meteor Scatter” or “Meteor Burst” communication.

The Tropospheric Scatter also permits VHF radio waves to travel beyond the curvature of the Earth as they follow it horizontally through the upper layers of the Troposphere, 7 to 20 km (4 to 12 miles) above sea level (http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/Atmosphere/troposphere.html)

How would a “meteor” weighing 353,000 tons behave while travelling through the lower levels of the Troposphere (at least in part) at speeds at least 100 times faster than those usually attained by its spatial siblings? And what would its consequences (and opportunities…) be for radio-wave communications?

The speed of Santa’s sleigh in Christmas Night has been estimated between 680 miles per second (http://www.daclarke.org/Humour/santa.html) and 1800 miles per second (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/christmas/8188997/The-science-of-Christmas-Santa-Claus-his-sleigh-and-presents.html). Its mass clearly must decrease as the night proceeds, but at the onset it has been estimated at the above figure of 353,000 tons (http://www.daclarke.org/Humour/santa.html). Although Santa’s sleigh average altitude is difficult to assess, it is likely to travel most of the time within the Troposphere, mostly through its lower levels. However, whichever its altitude, its path could not possibly go unnoticed to the molecules in the atmosphere, and it must leave behind a long and tangled tri-dimensional labyrinth of severely ionized particles. This seems yet untapped for a new form of seasonal tropospheric propagation: “Sleigh Scatter” available only during the night of December 24th to the 25th…

It won’t happen…? Possibly not… But has anyone tried it…? The proof of the pudding (even if a Christmas pudding) must be in the eating…

Best Wishes and Season Greetings to all those visiting this Blog!

PS.- The “sky wings” on the picture above is a sheath of ice crystals floating over the waters in the Mer Bleue bog at the onset of winter (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mer_Bleue_Conservation_Area).