Structure of the Atmosphere of Jupiter: Galileo Probe Measurements

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Science  10 May 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5263, pp. 844-845
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5263.844


Temperatures and pressures measured by the Galileo probe during parachute descent into Jupiter's atmosphere essentially followed the dry adiabat between 0.41 and 24 bars, consistent with the absence of a deep water cloud and with the low water content found by the mass spectrometer. From 5 to 15 bars, lapse rates were slightly stable relative to the adiabat calculated for the observed H2/He ratio, which suggests that upward heat transport in that range is not attributable to simple radial convection. In the upper atmosphere, temperatures of >1000 kelvin at the 0.01-microbar level confirmed the hot exosphere that had been inferred from Voyager occultations. The thermal gradient increased sharply to 5 kelvin per kilometer at a reconstructed altitude of 350 kilometers, as was recently predicted. Densities at 1000 kilometers were 100 times those in the pre-encounter engineering model.