Jupiter As Observed by Galileo

The Galileo Spacecraft is in orbit and the motion of Earth and Jupiter as they orbit the Sun is such that on December 18 the Sun will be directly between us and Jupiter. The Sun generates lots of static in the radio signal that is transmitted from the spacecraft to earth. This interferes with transmission of the probe data. Even so the probe scientists have retrieved almost an hour of data and though the static is a problem they are working on understanding it.

When the Earth's motion carries us around so we can see Jupiter in the morning sky they will signal the spacecraft to send some of the data again. In February Jupiter will move far enough from the sun to use HST again and my team will obtain 11 orbits of data at that time.

The Galileo Spacecraft will orbit back around to the daylight side of the planet and on 27 June 1996 a detailed set of closeup observations of the Red Spot is planned. My team has asked to observe Jupiter with HST at that time but we have not received permission.

Although the Red Spot has existed for many years, it's appearance and the cloud structure around it is quite variable, therefore if you choose to observe the Red Spot, several weeks ahead of time graduate students from New Mexico State University can work with Alex Storrs to determine in which HST orbits it will be visible so that you could study it with just one orbit of your allocated time. Thus, you could interact with scientists who have instruments on the orbiting spacecraft.

The following is a current report from Marcie Smith at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Galileo: Probe entry / Orbit Insertion + 5 days

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Subject: Probe status 12/11
Date: 12/11/95 Time: 9:31 AM

The data stored on the Orbiter from the Probe continues to be returned. We have received data scattered throughout the relay and the scientists are busy analyzing. The data has lots of holes due to the noise from superior conjunction. We did get data from both data strings and from what we have so far it seems that the link lasted for 57 minutes. Since it seemed to lock up about 4 minutes after entry, then we should have data for about an hour after entry. Indications are that all instruments turned on. Scientists are still determining if they are working as expected.

Marcie Smith

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