LOOKING BACK THE SKY AT NIGHT December 1996
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