Category Archives: Juno

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



This is the final view taken by the JunoCam instrument on NASA’s Juno spacecraft before Juno’s instruments were powered down in preparation for orbit insertion. Juno obtained this color view on June 29, 2016, at a distance of 3.3 million miles (5.3 million kilometers) from Jupiter.

Juno is now in orbit around Jupiter and is apparently working perfectly!

Confirmation of a successful orbit insertion was received from Juno tracking data monitored at the navigation facility at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, as well as at the Lockheed Martin Juno operations center in Denver. The telemetry and tracking data were received by NASA’s Deep Space Network antennas in Goldstone, California, and Canberra, Australia.New Horizons