The oblateness of Jupiter, which was neglected in the standard inversion technique for radio occultation data, has a substantial effect on the refractivity profiles of the neutral Jovian atmosphere derived from the Pioneer 10/11 occultations. The geometry of the Pioneer 10 entry and exit occultations has the effect that oblateness should account for much of the discrepancy of the results with plausible atmospheric models. The effect of the oblateness on Pioneer 11 entry is smaller, where much of the discrepancy could be due to other effects, such as cycle‐slip in the spacecraft transponder. Theory indicates that the Pioneer 11 exit occultation should be affected by the oblateness in the opposite sense from the first three occultations; and, indeed, the data which had not been invertible under the spherical assumption produced reasonable results when an oblateness correction was applied.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)