Jupiter is fun -it's ever changing. Cloud temperature at -130 deg C. and
winds as large as 400 km/hour near where the probe will enter the planet
on December 7 make this a wierd atmosphere. Although the probe will descend
into the planet and the orbiter will observe the planet about once a month
during the next two years, there is still much that these instruments can't
do. The data will be limited because of the many problems that this spacecraft
Although you have the privilege of using the Hubble Space Telescope, an extremely sophisticated instrument, your observing time is limited. You should ask each other the following questions:
1. Which planet do I want to study? Why?
2. Now you should ask --Which questions about that planet can I answer?
3. Can the information that we get be combined with what others are learning to get even more information?
4. Which instrument would help me to answer my questions?
5. Is the assigned observing time enough to do my desired observations?
6. Is Hubble Space Telescope the right telescope to use or should I work to join a team that will design a spacecraft to go to the planet I want to study? Remember planning for the Galileo Mission began more than 20 years ago.
I worked with Voyager 1 as it flew by Jupiter and Saturn and with Voyager 2 during the encounters with Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune and even though I have studied all the planets, I find Jupiter to be a never ending challenge. Some storms last for centuries while others spend themselves in days. Like on Earth, upwelling of warmer gases from below is followed by formation of fresh white clouds that help you to study the weather on the giant planet.
The advantage that you have when you are observing Jupiter with the Hubble Space telescope is that the disk of the planet is so large that it more than fills the camera's field-of-view (screen) in the high magnification mode of the Wide Field Planetary Camera or you can aim a spectrograph directly at the center of the Red Spot, while excluding the rest of the planet, to try to understand what chemicals could be causing the Red Color.
Uranus and Neptune are smaller and farther from the Earth than Jupiter. The result is that the diameter of the disks are about 0.1 and 0.06 times the diameter of Jupiter. The diameter of Pluto is more than 10 times smaller than these distant planets. This will limit the information that you can obtain and you should keep this in mind when you decide which questions you will seek to answer on the planet or planets of your choice.
It is also important to remember that Galileo will not answer all the problems concerning the planet Jupiter. The camera on board the Galileo Space craft is designed for close-up views of small areas on Jupiter and the large moons. We are using the Hubble cameras to get global coverage. Observations you make could be combined with those we made in October and those we will get in February to learn how storm systems change on Jupiter. You could compare this with the behavior of storms here on Earth, using weather maps from the net. Your study of the manner in which the clouds change at 7 deg. N latitude would help scientists who are analyzing the probe data to understand the wind conditions that existed during probe entry.
You can go to World Wide Web Site: http://charon.nmsu.edu and click on the anonymous ftp site link. In the HSTlive directory you can retrieve gif images from October 5th that were obtained through a blue filter and a filter that allows light redder than your eye can see to pass through. These images are oriented so that north is in the lower right corner as seen by the telescope. If you like more information about some of the clouds please ask and I will try to supply you more information.
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