Home \ Pioneer 10 and 11 - 1972/97 - "Pioneer Project"

Spacecraft and image details:

Pioneer imaging system details:
Pixel size: 0.028º
Sampling: 0.015º or 0.030º
"Vertical" imaging range: 14º or 28º
"Horizontal" imaging range: 151º
Reading time: ~30 min per image
Scan lenght:
466 pixels
Bit depth:
6 bits
Sensor:
Imaging Photopolarimeter (IPP)
Filters:
Red (580-700um) and Blue (390-490um)

Pioneer 10 and 11 were the first spacecraft to explore Jupiter and Saturn. They were designed as simple probes with a limited number of instruments.

As such, they didn't cary a camera in a conventional sense, but an Image Photo-Polarimeter. This device works by measuring the amount of light coming from a single point of space in two wavelengths (Red and Blue). These measurements were encoded on 64 levels (6 bits). Therefore, to produce a picture, that single point must move and scan the planet step by step and line by line.

This movement was connected with Pioneer's spin rate. Each of these scans on each spin was converted to 466 pixels, covering a 14 or 28 portion of sky, depending of the actual sample rate selected. We can consider this scan to be the equivalent of a line on a computer display.

Therefore, a raw Pioneer image can have a maximum of 466 horizontal pixels. The vertical dimensions of each image are not constrained. After reading a "line" the instrument could be repositioned to scan a small amount bellow or above the previous position. This was done as needed in order to scan the full disk of a planet from a distance or zones of interest when the spacecraft was closer.

At closest approach, it took 30 minutes to scan a full image. This amount of time, combined with spacecraft motion through space and the target planet's rotation introduces severe distortions to the pictures.

 

Image processing:

The available images come in scanned format from printed paper or photographic sources. Where possible, I stacked several copies of the same image to reduce noise. Color RGB composites were generated from the separate red and blue data when available, with a synthethic green channel. Image orientation and proportions were corrected accounting for spacecraft distance and planet rotation. A dark gray planet outline was generated to place the parcial images with regard to the planet's disk. Some cylindrical maps were produced from the semi-global Jupiter coverage provided by both spacecraft's encounters with Jupiter. Positions of features on the maps are only aproximate, given the dificulty to correct all the geometrical distortions mentioned above in conjunction with the planet's rotation. The images are presented on the tabs below, in the correct sequence and with the same apparent size.

  • Jupiter global maps
  • P10 Jupiter encounter
  • P11 Jupiter encounter
  • P11 Saturn encounter

Pioneer Jupiter encounter global mosaics

Pioneer 10                 01-12-1973

Pioneer 11                 02-12-1974

Available Pioneer 10 images

Processed image with corrected orientation and apparent size Number

Date

Mid time Distance
(km)

(blue channel)
 

17-11-1973

01:36 160000000

(blue channel)
  19-11-1973 02:04 143000000

(blue channel)
 

21-11-1973

04:07

12600000


(blue channel)
 

23-11-1973

01:53

11000000


(blue channel)
 

25-11-1973

06:46

9100000


(blue channel)
      8000000

(blue channel)
      8000000

(blue channel)
 

27-11-1973

04:30

7500000


(blue channel)
 

28-11-1973

16:02

6200000


(blue channel)
 

29-11-1973

01:44

5800000


(blue channel)
A99

30-11-1973

07:03

4620000


(blue channel)
A59   22:02 2984000
A58   22:27 2965000
A51

01-12-1973

06:55 2584000
A50

07:31 2557000
A49

08:11 2525000
A39

14:33 2227000
A35

17:21 2092000
A33

 

 

18:49 2021000
A31

20:18 1948000

(red)
A29   21:50 1872000
A28

22:31 1837000
A26

02-12-1973

02:36 1630000

 
(raw data with Ganimedes)

A25     1448400
Ganimedes A24      
A23     1300349
A22

08:52 1295000
A16

11:23 1153000
A10   13:58 1003000
A9

14:47 954000
A8

15:17 924000
A7

16:19 861000
A6

17:05 814000
A5

18:28 726000
 Europa A4   19:24  

(raw data)
A3 03-12-1973 01:00 514990

(raw data)

 

 

A2

  1:46 245000
A1

03:08 203000
B11

04-12-1973

00:50 1472000
B17   04:54 1684000
B23   08:09 1849000
B39

21:25 2487000
B69

06-12-1973

17:08 4367000
 
30-12-1973
18:08 16000000

Available Pioneer 11 Jupiter images

Processed image with corrected orientation and apparent size Number

Date

Mid time Distance
(km)
C22      
Jupiter from Pioneer 11 Callisto C12      
Jupiter from Pioneer 11 C9      
Jupiter from Pioneer 11 C8      
Jupiter from Pioneer 11 C7      
Jupiter from Pioneer 11 C6      
Jupiter from Pioneer 11Jupiter from Pioneer 11 Ganimedes C5      
Jupiter from Pioneer 11 C3      
Jupiter from Pioneer 11 D1      
Jupiter from Pioneer 11 D2      
Jupiter from Pioneer 11 D4      
Jupiter from Pioneer 11 Io D7      
Jupiter from Pioneer 11 D8      
Jupiter from Pioneer 11 D10      
Jupiter from Pioneer 11 D11      
Jupiter from Pioneer 11 D12      
Jupiter from Pioneer 11 D14      
Jupiter from Pioneer 11 D15      
Jupiter from Pioneer 11 D16      
Jupiter from Pioneer 11 D17      

Available Pioneer 11 Saturn images

Processed image with corrected orientation and apparent size

Date

(km)
26-08-79  
26-08-79  
30-08-79  
31-08-79  
31-08-79 1600000000
1-09-79  
1-09-79 941000000
1-09-79 505000000
1-09-79 400000000
1-09-79  
1-09-79  
1-09-79 335000000
1-09-79  
3-09-79 2100000000

 

 

 

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