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Magnetic Fields

NSSDC ID: 1972-012A-01
Mission Name: Pioneer 10
Principal Investigator: Dr. Edward J. Smith


The magnetometer on Pioneer 10 (also carried on Pioneer 11) is a triaxial helium magnetometer with seven dynamic ranges, from plus or minus 2.5 nT to plus or minus 10 gauss. The linearity was 0.1%, and the noise threshold was 0.01% rms for 0-1 Hz. The accuracy was 0.5% of full scale range. The experiment worked as planned until November 1975, when the spacecraft was at about 8 au. No further useful data were obtained. The experimenter has used RTN coordinates in his data analysis. In this system, R (or X) is radially outward from the sun, T (or Y) is parallel to the sun's equatorial plane and has its direction given by the cross product of the sun's spin vector into the radial direction (i.e., into R) and N (or Z) completes the right-handed orthogonal system (positive northward). A detailed instrument description may be found in Smith et al., IEEE Trans. On Magnetics, Mag-11, p. 962, July 1975. Some data also include the interplanetary region. This instrument failed in October 1975 and was turned off in June 1986.

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Space Science (United States)


  • Planetary Science: Fields and Particles
  • Space Physics: Heliospheric Studies

Additional Information

Questions or comments about this experiment can be directed to: Dr. John F. Cooper.



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. David S. ColburnOther InvestigatorNASA Ames Research Center 
Dr. Palmer DyalOther InvestigatorNASA Ames Research Center 
Dr. Leverett Davis, Jr.Other InvestigatorCalifornia Institute of Technology 
Prof. Paul J. Coleman, Jr.Other InvestigatorUniversity of California, Los Angeles 
Dr. Douglas E. JonesOther InvestigatorBrigham Young University 
Dr. Charles P. SonettOther InvestigatorUniversity of Arizona 
Dr. Edward J. SmithPrincipal InvestigatorNASA Jet Propulsion
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