Also found in: Acronyms.
AMPTEAbbrev. for active magnetospheric particle tracer explorer. Any of three satellites built by West Germany, the UK, and the USA that were launched from a Thor Delta rocket into different orbits on 9 Aug. 1984 for a series of interactive experiments to study the Earth's magnetosphere. The German and UK satellites were put in highly eccentric orbits into the solar wind while the US craft was in a lower orbit. Lithium and later barium atoms released into the magnetosphere from the German satellite formed positive ions. These were used as tracers in a coordinated effort to study how solar energy, carried by the solar wind, is intercepted and stored in the magnetosphere as charged particles.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006