“Now that she’s back in the atmosphere, with drops of Jupiter…”
Oh hey, I was just thinking about the largest planet in our solar system.
Juno, NASA’s $1 billion solar-powered spacecraft, has been orbiting Jupiter to discover more about the celestial giant for a while now.
At 628 million kilometres from Earth, Juno has been in Jupiter’s orbit for exactly five years, having launched in July of 2016.
But it has been in space longer, having launched on August 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Now, on Juno’s 35th perijove (close flyby), it has captured and sent fresh images of Jupiter’s dreamy, wispy surface.
It had just 25 minutes to take five exposures, which have been used to make an animation with a “starship captain” point of view.
Forbes has more:
Freshly arrived across NASA’s Deep Space Network after crossing 34 light-minutes and swiftly processed by a team of volunteer “citizen scientists,” the latest images show the Solar System’s biggest planet looking as fabulous as Juno raced from pole to pole in under three hours.
— Kevin M. Gill (@kevinmgill) July 21, 2021
Juno has been in an elliptical orbit so that it can get cosier with Jupiter’s clouds.
Being so intimate, Juno has made a number of remarkable discoveries:
The latest finding is the trigger for the powerful radio emissions within the giant planet’s mighty magnetic field, which is about 20 000 times stronger than Earth’s and can extend to 3,2 million kilometres toward the Sun (and over 965 million kilometres away from it).
That’s a strong pull you got there, Jupiter.
Well, the “King of Planets” is very attractive:
The precise location of the radio emissions from Jupiter’s magnetic field was found by Juno’s Waves instrument.
It listened to the rain of electrons flowing onto the planet from its volcanic moon, Io:
“The radio emission is likely constant, but Juno has to be in the right spot to listen,” said Yasmina Martos at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the University of Maryland. It’s a bit like a lighthouse beacon shining briefly on a ship at sea.
Jupiter has a total of 79 moons, and Io is the closest to the planet, while Ganymede is the largest moon.
Juno is spending more time up there exploring more moons for new discoveries, but when the spacecraft starts to wither from Jupiter’s intense radiation, it will perform a “death dive” into the gas planet so that it can avoid a moon crash.
“Since the return from her stay on the moon, she listens like spring and she talks like June…”
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