LOOK­ING BACK THE SKY AT NIGHT De­cem­ber 1996

Sky at Night Magazine - - BULLETIN -

On 8 De­cem­ber 1996, the team from The Sky at Night were look­ing at data from the Galileo probe, which had just com­pleted its first year in or­bit at gas gi­ant Jupiter.

The first year hadn’t been quite as pro­lific as Galileo sci­en­tists had hoped since the high-gain an­tenna, which trans­mits data back to Earth, failed to open prop­erly af­ter launch. The task was taken up by the low-gain an­tenna, which had a much slower up­load speed.

De­spite this, Galileo man­aged to achieve al­most all of its science goals over its eight years at Jupiter. It com­pleted 35 or­bits of the planet dis­cov­er­ing an in­tense belt of ra­di­a­tion above Jupiter’s cloud tops and a strong mag­netic field around the moon Ganymede. It also ob­served the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the planet’s elec­tric and mag­netic field, and the at­mos­phere of vol­canic Io.

Galileo com­pleted 35 or­bits of Jupiter over eight years

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