Ulysses dust measurements near Jupiter

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Science  11 Sep 1992:
Vol. 257, Issue 5076, pp. 1550-1552
DOI: 10.1126/science.11538054


Submicrometer- to micrometer-sized particles were recorded by the Ulysses dust detector within 40 days of the Jupiter flyby. Nine impacts were recorded within 50 Jupiter radii with most of them recorded after closest approach. Three of these impacts are consistent with particles on prograde orbits around Jupiter and the rest are believed to have resulted from gravitationally focused interplanetary dust. From the ratio of the impact rate before the Jupiter flyby to the impact rate after the Jupiter flyby it is concluded that interplanetary dust particles at the distance of Jupiter move on mostly retrograde orbits. On 10 March 1992, Ulysses passed through an intense dust stream. The dust detector recorded 126 impacts within 26 hours. The stream particles were moving on highly inclined and apparently hyperbolic orbits with perihelion distances of >5 astronomical units. Interplanetary dust is lost rather quickly from the solar system through collisions and other mechanisms and must be almost continuously replenished to maintain observed abundances. Dust flux measurements, therefore, give evidence of the recent rates of production from sources such as comets, asteroids, and moons, as well as the possible presence of interstellar grains.

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