Jupiter's Atmosphere: Problems and Potential of Radio Occultation

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Science  12 Sep 1975:
Vol. 189, Issue 4206, pp. 876-878
DOI: 10.1126/science.189.4206.876


The atmospheric temperature-pressure profiles derived from the Pioneer 10-Pioneer 11 radio occultation experiment are mutually consistent but differ markedly from the results of other investigations. Current studies indicate that the occultation interpretation contains errors that were made very large by an inherent magnification effect, and that these errors have both geometrical and equipment sources. The apparent consistency between the Pioneer 10 and the Pioneer 11 results must be considered fortuitous. Despite these difficulties, the occultation technique, when optimally instrumented and carefully interpreted, retains its potential for atmospheric profile measurements of high accuracy and resolution.