Radio Science with Voyager 1 at Jupiter: Preliminary Profiles of the Atmosphere and Ionosphere

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science  01 Jun 1979:
Vol. 204, Issue 4396, pp. 976-978
DOI: 10.1126/science.204.4396.976


A preliminarv profile of the atmosphere of Jupiter in the South Equatorial Belt shows (i) the tropopause occurring at a pressure level of 100 millibars and temperature of about 113K, (ii) a higher warm inversion layer at about the 35-millibar level, and (iii) a lower-altitude constant lapse rate matching the adiabatic value of about 2 K per kilometer, with the temperatutre reaching 150 K at the 600-millibar level. Preliminary afternoon and predawn ionospheric profiles at 12° south latitude and near the equator, respectively, have topside plasma scale heights of 590 kilometers changing to 960 kilometers above an altitucde of 3500 kilometers for the dayside, and about 960 kilomneters at all measured heights above the peak for the nightside. The higher value of scale height corresponds to a plasma temperature of 1100 K under the assumption of a plasma of protons and electrons in ambipolar diffusive equilibrium. The peak electron concentration in the upper ionosphere is approximately 2 x 105 per cubic centimeter for the dayside and about a factor of 10 less for the nightside. These peaks occur at altitudes of 1600 and 2300 kilometers, respectively. Continuing analyses are expected to extend and refine these results, and to be used to investigate other regions and phenomena.

Related Content