Category Archives: Juno

Juno’s Latest


NASA’s caption:
This composite image depicts Jupiter’s cloud formations as seen through the eyes of Juno’s Microwave Radiometer (MWR) instrument as compared to the top layer, a Cassini Imaging Science Subsystem image of the planet. The MWR can see a couple of hundred miles (kilometers) into Jupiter’s atmosphere with its largest antenna. The belts and bands visible on the surface are also visible in modified form in each layer below.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/GSFC

If you were wondering where the new pictures of the clouds of Jupiter are, the Juno spacecraft encountered some sort of issue just hours before reaching perigee to the planet and the computer rebooted and no data was collected. No worries all systems are apparently working normally.

From NASA:

NASA’s Juno spacecraft entered safe mode Tuesday, Oct. 18 at about 10:47 p.m. PDT (Oct. 19 at 1:47 a.m. EDT). Early indications are a software performance monitor induced a reboot of the spacecraft’s onboard computer. The spacecraft acted as expected during the transition into safe mode, restarted successfully and is healthy. High-rate data has been restored, and the spacecraft is conducting flight software diagnostics. All instruments are off, and the planned science data collection for today’s close flyby of Jupiter (perijove 2), did not occur.
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Juno Update

The Juno spacecraft is about to make a close pass at Jupiter (19 Oct) and there was scheduled a engine burn in order to change the spacecraft’s orbit. The burn is not going to happen as scheduled.  There is an issue involving the engine being investigated and more time is needed for evaluation. The “burn” was going to change the orbital time from 53 to 14 days and of course it will remain at 53 days.


“Telemetry indicates that two helium check valves that play an important role in the firing of the spacecraft’s main engine did not operate as expected during a command sequence that was initiated yesterday,” said Rick Nybakken, Juno project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “The valves should have opened in a few seconds, but it took several minutes. We need to better understand this issue before moving forward with a burn of the main engine.”

The good part of the story is now the mission team is going to have ALL the Juno instruments active for the fly-by.

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The complete press release is below.
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Sounds of Jupiter’s Aurora

The frequency range of these signals is from 7 to 140 kilohertz. Radio astronomers call these “kilometric emissions” because their wavelengths are about a kilometer long.

Let’s see, the wavelength of a 7 kHz signal is:

λ = speed of light (c) / 7 kHz or 7000 hertz


λ = 300,000,000 m/s / 7,000 Hz

λ = 42,857 m or 42.857 km



Jupiter’s Southern Aurora


This image comes to us from Juno as it was going by Jupiter a few days ago on 27 August 2016. We are not getting a good look at this from Earth due to our planetary geometry, so this look from Juno is as unique as it is spectacular.

Juno’s Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) camera acquired the view at wavelengths ranging from 3.3 to 3.6 microns — the wavelengths of light emitted by excited hydrogen ions in the polar regions. The view is a mosaic of three images taken just minutes apart from each other, about four hours after the perijove pass while the spacecraft was moving away from Jupiter. — NASA


New Jupiter Images

New Jupiter images are starting come along via JunoCam. One really great thing about these image releases is that the public is more than welcome to go in and “process” the raw images. If you can go and try this!

You do need some sort of help in the way of photo software. You might have Photoshop, if so, great, if not there are many other alternatives. Including free online programs, the image below of an area round Jupiter’s north polar region resulted from PIXLR.


This image is part of a larger image available from NASA thanks and credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS.

The original caption for the full image from NASA/Juno:

Storm systems and weather activity unlike anything encountered in the solar system are on view in these color images of Jupiter’s north polar region from NASA’s Juno spacecraft.

The JunoCam instrument took the images to create this color view on August 27, when the spacecraft was about 48,000 miles (78,000 kilometers) above the polar cloud tops.

A wavy boundary is visible halfway between the grayish region at left (closer to the pole and the nightside shadow) and the lighter-colored area on the right. The wavy appearance of the boundary represents a Rossby wave — a north-south meandering of a predominantly east-west flow in an atmospheric jet. This may be caused by a difference in temperature between air to the north and south of this boundary, as is often the case with such waves in Earth’s atmosphere.

The polar region is filled with a variety of discrete atmospheric features. Some of these are ovals, but the larger and brighter features have a “pinwheel” shape reminiscent of the shape of terrestrial hurricanes. Tracking the motion and evolution of these features across multiple orbits will provide clues about the dynamics of the Jovian atmosphere.

This image also provides the first example of cloud shadowing on Jupiter: near the top of the image, a high cloud feature is seen past the normal boundary between day and night, illuminated above the cloud deck below.

While subtle color differences are visible in the image, some of these are likely the result of scattered light within the JunoCam optics. Work is ongoing to characterize these effects.

Success for Juno!


YES!! Here is the first released image from Jupiter from Juno! Congrats to the Juno mission team and NASA!

More to come. As is the norm around here, click the image to see a larger version.

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

The caption released with the image:
NASA’s Juno mission successfully executed its first of 36 orbital flybys of Jupiter today. The time of closest approach with the gas-giant world was 6:44 a.m. PDT (9:44 a.m. EDT, 13:44 UTC) when Juno passed about 2,600 miles (4,200 kilometers) above Jupiter’s swirling clouds. At the time, Juno was traveling at 130,000 mph (208,000 kilometers per hour) with respect to the planet. This flyby was the closest Juno will get to Jupiter during its prime mission.

“Early post-flyby telemetry indicates that everything worked as planned and Juno is firing on all cylinders,” said Rick Nybakken, Juno project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

There are 35 more close flybys of Jupiter planned during Juno’s mission (scheduled to end in February 2018). The August 27 flyby was the first time Juno had its entire suite of science instruments activated and looking at the giant planet as the spacecraft zoomed past.

“We are getting some intriguing early data returns as we speak,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “It will take days for all the science data collected during the flyby to be downlinked and even more to begin to comprehend what Juno and Jupiter are trying to tell us.”

While results from the spacecraft’s suite of instruments will be released down the road, a handful of images from Juno’s visible light imager — JunoCam — are expected to be released the next couple of weeks. Those images will include the highest-resolution views of the Jovian atmosphere and the first glimpse of Jupiter’s north and south poles.

“We are in an orbit nobody has ever been in before, and these images give us a whole new perspective on this gas-giant world,” said Bolton.

The Juno spacecraft launched on Aug. 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and arrived at Jupiter on July 4, 2016. JPL manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Juno is part of NASA’s New Frontiers Program, which is managed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages JPL for NASA.

Juno Minutes Away


Juno is must moments away from its closest approach to Jupiter. We should know more in about an hours. Round trip radio time is 1.76 hours so the one-way time of 52 minutes.

I wonder how radio transmissions are affected during these close encounters.

Updates to follow. Pictures? Hopefully!

Ready or Not Here Comes Juno

Ready or not, Juno is about to sweep to 4,200 km / 2,500 miles above the clouds of Jupiter at a velocity of 208,000 km/hr  or 130,000 miles/hr. The encounter will occur Saturday at 12:51 UTC.

The image below was taken on 23 August at a distance of 4.4 million km / 2.8 million miles as Juno continued towards Jupiter on this initial orbit.


The caption released with the image:

This dual view of Jupiter was taken on August 23, when NASA’s Juno spacecraft was 2.8 million miles (4.4 million kilometers) from the gas giant planet on the inbound leg of its initial 53.5-day capture orbit.

The image on the left is a color composite taken with Junocam’s visible red, green, and blue filters. The image on the right was also taken by JunoCam, but uses the camera’s infrared filter, which is sensitive to the abundance of methane in the atmosphere. Bright features like the planet’s Great Red Spot are higher in the atmosphere, and so have less of their light absorbed by the methane.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. The Juno mission is part of the New Frontiers Program managed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Juno At Apojovi


The Juno spacecraft will reach its farthest point in the initial orbit, ‘apojovi’ as NASA calls it.

Juno will be be 8.1 million km / 5 million miles from Jupiter at 16:41 UTC / 12:41 EDT, when Jupiter’s gravity will draw the spacecraft back towards it. The spacecraft will finish this first orbit on 27 August and will make one more “long orbit” before settling into the science orbits of the mission.

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Juno Parting Look


Here’s an image from Juno after its first encounter with Jupiter. The image was taken on 10 July 2015, just days after the 05 July (UTC) encounter. The spacecraft was 2.7 million miles (4.3 million kilometers) from Jupiter at time.

The first high resolution images are due around 27 August when the second orbit is underway. The spacecraft’s camera was turned away from Jupiter during the initial orbit – nothing was taken for granted the first time around.

We can see the Great Red Spot in this image and three of the four Galilean moons, in order from left to right: Io, Europa, Ganymede.
Click the image above for a larger version; an annotated version can be seen here.

Juno images are available courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS