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December 1, 2014 - Pioneer 11 at Jupiter

Pioneer 11 at Jupiter Launched in 1973, the Pioneer 11 spacecraft this week celebrates the fortieth anniversary of its 1974 encounter with Jupiter. Among Pioneer 11’s contributions to the understanding of Jupiter were the first direct observations of Jupiter’s polar regions, dramatic images of the Great Red Spot, and the determination of the mass of Jupiter’s moon Callisto. This image, taken from a distance of 760,000 km (472,000 mi), is the last of Pioneer 11’s approach images that contain the full disk of Jupiter. It shows quite clearly that Pioneer 11 approached Jupiter from below, giving it a great view of the southern hemisphere on approach and an equally unique view of Jupiter’s northern hemisphere as it receded. Five years after this encounter, Pioneer 11 became the first spacecraft to visit Saturn.

Image credit: Processed image © Ted Stryk; Original prints scanned to create this image courtesy NASA / Ames Research Center.

Weekly Calendar

December 1-7 2014

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 1

Uranus 1.2° south of Moon

1957: Ballistic shape of Mercury spacecraft proposed by Max Faget
2013: Chang'e-3 spacecraft launched to Moon

Moon phase Tuesday 2

1974: Pioneer 11 closest approach to Jupiter during flyby
1988: STS-27 Atlantis launched
1990: STS-35 Columbia launched
1992: STS-53 Discovery launched
1993: STS-61 Endeavour launched
1995: SOHO launched

Moon phase Wednesday 3

1973: Pioneer 10 closest approach to Jupiter during flyby
2014: Hayabusa 2 launched on asteroid sample return mission

Moon phase Thursday 4

1965: Gemini VII launched
1978: Pioneer-Venus 1 orbiter arrives in orbit around Venus
1996: Mars Pathfinder launched
1998: STS-88 Endeavour launched

Moon phase Friday 5

2001: STS-108 Endeavour launched
2014: Orion spacecraft launched on first uncrewed test flight

Moon phase Saturday 6

Full Moon 7:27 AM ET

1998: Unity and Zarya modules are connected to form International Space Station core

Moon phase Sunday 7

1905: Gerard Kuiper born
1972: Apollo 17 launched
1995: Galileo probe enters Jupiter’s atmosphere; orbiter begins prime mission
1997: Galileo Europa Mission begins

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