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A number of probes have visited Jupiter.
Pioneer Flyby Missions
Pioneer 10 flew past Jupiter in December of 1973,
followed by Pioneer 11 exactly one year later.
They provided important new data about Jupiter's
magnetosphere, and took some low-resolution photographs
of the planet.
Voyager Flyby Missions
1 took this photo of the planet Jupiter on January 24,
while still more than 25 million miles (40 million kilometres)
away. Click image for full caption.
Voyager 1 flew by in March 1979 followed by Voyager
2 in July of the same year. The Voyagers vastly improved
our understanding of the Galilean moons and discovered
Jupiter's rings. They also took the first close up images
of the planet's atmosphere.
Ulysses Flyby Mission
In February 1992, Ulysses solar probe performed
a flyby of Jupiter at a distance of 900,000 km
(6.3 Jovian radii).The flyby was needed to attain
a polar orbit around the Sun. The probe conducted
studies on Jupiter's magnetosphere. Since there
are no cameras onboard in the probe and no images
were taken. In February 2004, the probe came again
in the vicinity of Jupiter. This time distance
was much greater, about 240 million km.
Jupiter as seen by the space probe Cassini. This
is the most detailed global color portrait of
Jupiter ever assembled. There is only one spacecraft
to orbit Jupiter and it is the Galileo orbiter,
which went into orbit around Jupiter in December
7, 1995. It orbited the planet for over seven
years and conducted multiple flybys of all of
the Galilean moons and Amalthea .
also witnessed the impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy
9 into Jupiter as it approached the planet in
1994, giving a unique vantage point for this spectacular
event. However, the information gained about the
Jovian system from the Galileo mission was limited
by the failed deployment of its high-gain radio
transmitting antenna. An atmospheric probe was
released from the spacecraft in July, 1995.
probe entered the planet's atmosphere in December
7, 1995. It parachuted through 150 km of the atmosphere,
collecting data for 58 minutes, before being crushed
by the extreme pressure to which it was subjected.
It would have melted and vaporized shortly thereafter.
The Galileo orbiter itself experienced a more
rapid version of the same fate when it was deliberately
steered into the planet on September 21, 2003 at a speed of over 50 km/s, in order to avoid
any possibility of it crashing into and possibly
contaminating Europa, one of the Jovian moons.
Cassini Flyby Mission
In 2000, the Cassini probe, en route to Saturn,
flew by Jupiter and provided some of the highest-resolution
images ever made of the planet.
Overview of Jupiter
Jupiter being the biggest planet is the fifth planet from the Sun and by far the largest within our solar system. Some have described the solar system as consisting of the Sun, Jupiter, and assorted debris, and others describe it as the solar system's vacuum cleaner, due to its immense gravity well. It, and the other gas giants Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, are sometimes referred to as " Jovian planets."
Jupiter's 4 Galilean moons, in a composite image comparing their sizes and the size of Jupiter (Great Red Spot visible). From the top they are: Callisto , Ganymede, Europa and Io. Jupiter has at least 63 moons. The four large moons, known as the "Galilean moons", are Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. Ganymade is the largest moon in the solar system.
Classification of Jupiter
There were initially four groups It used to be thought that Jupiter's moons were arranged neatly into four groups of four, but recent discoveries of many new small outer moons have complicated the division; there are now thought to be six main groups, although some are more distinct than others.
Europa , one of Jupiter's many moons.
The inner groups of four small moons all have diameters of less than 200 km, orbit at radii less than 200,000 km, and have orbital inclinations of less than half a degree.
The four Galilean moons were all found by Galileo Galilei , orbit between 400,000 and 2,000,000 km, and include some of the largest moons in the solar system.
Themisto is in a group of its own, and it orbits halfway between the Galilean moons and the next group.
The Himalia group is a tightly clustered group of moons with orbits around 11-12,000,000 km from Jupiter.
Carpo is another isolated case; at the inner edge of the Ananke group, it revolves in the direct sense.
The Ananke group is a collection with rather indistinct borders, averaging 21,276,000 km from Jupiter with an average inclination of 149 degrees.
The Carme group is a fairly distinct group that averages 23,404,000 km from Jupiter with an average inclination of 165 degrees.
The Pasiphae group is a dispersed and only vaguely distinct group that covers all the outermost moons.
It is thought that the groups of smaller moons
may each have a common origin, perhaps as a larger
moon or captured body that broke up into the existing
moons of each group.