Ulysses at Jupiter: An Overview of the Encounter

Science  11 Sep 1992:
Vol. 257, Issue 5076, pp. 1503-1507
DOI: 10.1126/science.257.5076.1503


In February 1992, the Ulysses spacecraft flew through the giant magnetosphere of Jupiter. The primary objective of the encounter was to use the gravity field of Jupiter to redirect the spacecraft to the sun's polar regions, which will now be traversed in 1994 and 1995. However, the Ulysses scientific investigations were well suited to observations of the Jovian magnetosphere, and the encounter has resulted in a major contribution to our understanding of this complex and dynamic plasma environment. Among the more exciting results are (i) possible entry into the polar cap, (ii) the identification of magnetospheric ions originating from Jupiter's ionosphere, lo, and the solar wind, (iii) observation of longitudinal asymmetries in density and discrete wave-emitting regions of the lo plasma torus, (iv) the presence of counter-streaming ions and electrons, field-aligned currents, and energetic electron and radio bursts in the dusk sector on high-latitude magnetic field lines, and (v) the identification of the direction of the magnetic field in the dusk sector, which is indicative of tailward convection. This overview serves as an introduction to the accompanying reports that present the preliminary scientific findings. Aspects of the encounter that are common to all of the investigations, such as spacecraft capabilities, the flight path past Jupiter, and unique aspects of the encounter, are presented herein.