Light scattering measurements from a searchlight beam were carried out in New Mexico to determine the aerosol properties of the atmosphere. Although data were acquired to an altitude of about 70 km, the results show the aerosol attenuation parameters to be significant to about 35 km. The expression for the aerosol attenuation coefficient is derived based on the field geometry in conjunction with Rayleigh and aerosol scattering considerations. The results are categorized into moderate-structured, medium-structured and full-structured aerosol profiles. Examples of each are discussed and measurements presented which show variation over a 6-h period. A quantitative examination is made of the 20-km aerosol layer. Also, a medium-structured profile is selected and treated more extensively to provide preliminary information pertaining to atmospheric scattering and transmission. Ultimately, the data accumulated will provide a substantial number of profiles that will form a basis for various atmospheric studies.