Category Archives: Juno

Juno Looks at Jupiter’s Northern Lights

Jupiter has pretty impressive auroras as Juno can attest. This particular aurora in Jupiter’s north is not from the recent solar flare responsible for ours.  The CME associated with our current storm occurred on 04 September and arrived here late yesterday, so it has a ways to go before it gets to Jupiter – about 4 more AU.

This particular view is from Juno’s it was taken by Juno’s Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer (UVS) instrument on 11 December 2016 which also explains why Jupiter is not visible.

This could be just me, but the aurora looks sort of happy to be there.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI
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SPECTACULAR!

A breath taking image and great work from citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran using data from  the Juno spacecraft and publicly available at JunoCam. Fantastic job!!!!  Be sure to click the image for  the larger version.

NASA’s caption: A dynamic storm at the southern edge of Jupiter’s northern polar region dominates this Jovian cloudscape, courtesy of NASA’s Juno spacecraft.

This storm is a long-lived anticyclonic oval named North North Temperate Little Red Spot 1 (NN-LRS-1); it has been tracked at least since 1993, and may be older still. An anticyclone is a weather phenomenon where winds around the storm flow in the direction opposite to that of the flow around a region of low pressure. It is the third largest anticyclonic oval on the planet, typically around 3,700 miles (6,000 kilometers) long. The color varies between red and off-white (as it is now), but this JunoCam image shows that it still has a pale reddish core within the radius of maximum wind speeds.

Citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran processed this image using data from the JunoCam imager. The image has been rotated so that the top of the image is actually the equatorial regions while the bottom of the image is of the northern polar regions of the planet.

The image was taken on July 10, 2017 at 6:42 p.m. PDT (9:42 p.m. EDT), as the Juno spacecraft performed its seventh close flyby of Jupiter. At the time the image was taken, the spacecraft was about 7,111 miles (11,444 kilometers) from the tops of the clouds of the planet at a latitude of 44.5 degrees.

Great Red Spot

LAUNCH TO THE ISS TODAY AT 15:41 UTC / 11:41 EDT) – CHECK BACK AT AT 15:30 UTC / 11:30 EDT FOR LAUNCH COVERAGE.

The image above is Jupiter’s Great Red Spot in true color.

NASA – This image of Jupiter’s iconic Great Red Spot (GRS) was created by citizen scientist Björn Jónsson using data from the JunoCam imager on NASA’s Juno spacecraft.

This true-color image offers a natural color rendition of what the Great Red Spot and surrounding areas would look like to human eyes from Juno’s position. The tumultuous atmospheric zones in and around the Great Red Spot are clearly visible.

The image was taken on July 10, 2017 at 07:10 p.m. PDT (10:10 p.m. EDT), as the Juno spacecraft performed its seventh close flyby of Jupiter. At the time the image was taken, the spacecraft was about 8,648 miles (13,917 kilometers) from the tops of the clouds of the planet at a latitude of -32.6 degrees.

JunoCam’s raw images are available at www.missionjuno.swri.edu/junocam for the public to peruse and process into image products.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Bjorn Jonsson

The Great Red Spot!

Hey look at this! Yesterday I said the Juno images would be available on 14 July, well NASA came through early!

This is my rendition of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. You know, I do have Photoshop on another computer that is currently in storage. I should get it out and fire it up. In the mean time, I did this from the original located at JunoCam (it is the TAN SEASHORE link).

Click here for my version, of the complete image.

and

Click here for the original if you have trouble at the JunoCam site, which is doubtful.  Download it and see what you can do.

JUNO Flyby Day

The Juno spacecraft will make a flyby of Jupiter today and it is going to fly right over that iconic superstorm we all know as the Great Red Spot. The image above is NOT from the flyby or Juno, actually it is from the Cassini spacecraft from a distance of 10 million km during a flyby on the way to Saturn (29 December 2000).  If you click the image above you will give you the entire photo, I isolated the Great Red Spot  mostly because I love those white squiggly clouds below it.

Last time around the images came back rather quickly as memory serves, perhaps these will too.

NASA – Just days after celebrating its first anniversary in Jupiter orbit, NASA’s Juno spacecraft will fly directly over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, the gas giant’s iconic, 10,000-mile-wide (16,000-kilometer-wide) storm. This will be humanity’s first up-close and personal view of the gigantic feature — a storm monitored since 1830 and possibly existing for more than 350 years.

“Jupiter’s mysterious Great Red Spot is probably the best-known feature of Jupiter,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “This monumental storm has raged on the solar system’s biggest planet for centuries. Now, Juno and her cloud-penetrating science instruments will dive in to see how deep the roots of this storm go, and help us understand how this giant storm works and what makes it so special.”

The data collection of the Great Red Spot is part of Juno’s sixth science flyby over Jupiter’s mysterious cloud tops. Perijove (the point at which an orbit comes closest to Jupiter’s center) will be on Monday, July 10, at 6:55 p.m. PDT (9:55 p.m. EDT). At the time of perijove, Juno will be about 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) above the planet’s cloud tops. Eleven minutes and 33 seconds later, Juno will have covered another 24,713 miles (39,771 kilometers) and will be directly above the coiling crimson cloud tops of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. The spacecraft will pass about 5,600 miles (9,000 kilometers) above the Giant Red Spot clouds. All eight of the spacecraft’s instruments as well as its imager, JunoCam, will be on during the flyby.

On July 4 at 7:30 p.m. PDT (10:30 p.m. EDT), Juno will have logged exactly one year in Jupiter orbit. At the time, the spacecraft will have chalked up about 71 million miles (114.5 million kilometers) in orbit around the giant planet.

“The success of science collection at Jupiter is a testament to the dedication, creativity and technical abilities of the NASA-Juno team,” said Rick Nybakken, project manager for Juno from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “Each new orbit brings us closer to the heart of Jupiter’s radiation belt, but so far the spacecraft has weathered the storm of electrons surrounding Jupiter better than we could have ever imagined.”

Juno launched on Aug. 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral, Florida. During its mission of exploration, Juno soars low over the planet’s cloud tops — as close as about 2,100 miles (3,400 kilometers). During these flybys, Juno is probing beneath the obscuring cloud cover of Jupiter and studying its auroras to learn more about the planet’s origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.

Early science results from NASA’s Juno mission portray the largest planet in our solar system as a turbulent world, with an intriguingly complex interior structure, energetic polar aurora, and huge polar cyclones.

Image: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

A Nice Look at Jupiter

Take a look at this beautiful contribution on the JunoCam website. Very nice work!

This enhanced-color image of Jupiter’s bands of light and dark clouds was created by citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran using data from the JunoCam imager on NASA’s Juno spacecraft.

Three of the white oval storms known as the “String of Pearls” are visible near the top of the image. Each of the alternating light and dark atmospheric bands in this image is wider than Earth, and each rages around Jupiter at hundreds of miles (kilometers) per hour. The lighter areas are regions where gas is rising, and the darker bands are regions where gas is sinking.

Juno acquired the image on May 19, 2017, at 11:30 a.m. PST (2:30 p.m. EST) from an altitude of about 20,800 miles (33,400 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloud tops.

JunoCam’s raw images are available at www.missionjuno.swri.edu/junocam for the public to peruse and process into image products.

Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Sean Doran

The Rings of Jupiter

 

Bonus:  A look at the constellation of Orion from Jupiter through the eyes of the Stellar Reference Unit (SRU-1) aboard the Juno spacecraft.

We don’t hear too much about the rings around Jupiter but they are there and are quite interesting – see our Jupiter page.

Can’t see Orion?  No problem, take a look at this then come back and look again.  It should stand right out for you (hopefully).

NASA –   As NASA’s Juno spacecraft flew through the narrow gap between Jupiter’s radiation belts and the planet during its first science flyby, Perijove 1, on August 27, 2016, the Stellar Reference Unit (SRU-1) star camera collected the first image of Jupiter’s ring taken from the inside looking out. The bright bands in the center of the image are the main ring of Jupiter’s ring system.

While taking the ring image, the SRU was viewing the constellation Orion. The bright star above the main ring is Betelgeuse, and Orion’s belt can be seen in the lower right. Juno’s Radiation Monitoring Investigation actively retrieves and analyzes the noise signatures from penetrating radiation in the images of the spacecraft’s star cameras and science instruments at Jupiter.

JunoCam’s raw images are available at www.missionjuno.swri.edu/junocam for the public to peruse and process into image products.

Images: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI

Plasma Sounds at Jupiter

The above display is a frequency-time spectrogram. The results in this figure show an increasing plasma density as Juno descended into Jupiter’s ionosphere during its close pass by Jupiter on 02 February 2017.

The intensity, or amplitude, of the waves is displayed based on the color scale shown on the right. The actual observed frequencies of these emissions approach 150 kHz. To get the sounds into a range we can hear, the 150 kHz signal was reduced 60 times. The momentary, nearly pure tones follow a scale related to the electron density, and are likely associated with an interaction between the Juno spacecraft and the charged particles in Jupiter’s ionosphere. The exact source of these discrete tones is currently being investigated.

Juno Mission Early Findings

The south pole of Jupiter as seen from the Juno spacecraft at a distance of 52,000 km / 32,000 miles and another great JunoCam contribution. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Betsy Asher Hall/Gervasio Robles

We are getting a bit of information about the findings. Can’t wait for the details!

JUNO – Early science results from NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter portray the largest planet in our solar system as a complex, gigantic, turbulent world, with Earth-sized polar cyclones, plunging storm systems that travel deep into the heart of the gas giant, and a mammoth, lumpy magnetic field that may indicate it was generated closer to the planet’s surface than previously thought.

“We are excited to share these early discoveries, which help us better understand what makes Jupiter so fascinating,” said Diane Brown, Juno program executive at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “It was a long trip to get to Jupiter, but these first results already demonstrate it was well worth the journey.”

Juno launched on Aug. 5, 2011, entering Jupiter’s orbit on July 4, 2016. The findings from the first data-collection pass, which flew within about 2,600 miles (4,200 kilometers) of Jupiter’s swirling cloud tops on Aug. 27, are being published this week in two papers in the journal Science, as well as 44 papers in Geophysical Research Letters.

“We knew, going in, that Jupiter would throw us some curves,” said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “But now that we are here we are finding that Jupiter can throw the heat, as well as knuckleballs and sliders. There is so much going on here that we didn’t expect that we have had to take a step back and begin to rethink of this as a whole new Jupiter.”

Among the findings that challenge assumptions are those provided by Juno’s imager, JunoCam. The images show both of Jupiter’s poles are covered in Earth-sized swirling storms that are densely clustered and rubbing together.

“We’re puzzled as to how they could be formed, how stable the configuration is, and why Jupiter’s north pole doesn’t look like the south pole,” said Bolton. “We’re questioning whether this is a dynamic system, and are we seeing just one stage, and over the next year, we’re going to watch it disappear, or is this a stable configuration and these storms are circulating around one another?”

Another surprise comes from Juno’s Microwave Radiometer (MWR), which samples the thermal microwave radiation from Jupiter’s atmosphere, from the top of the ammonia clouds to deep within its atmosphere. The MWR data indicates that Jupiter’s iconic belts and zones are mysterious, with the belt near the equator penetrating all the way down, while the belts and zones at other latitudes seem to evolve to other structures. The data suggest the ammonia is quite variable and continues to increase as far down as we can see with MWR, which is a few hundred miles or kilometers.

Prior to the Juno mission, it was known that Jupiter had the most intense magnetic field in the solar system. Measurements of the massive planet’s magnetosphere, from Juno’s magnetometer investigation (MAG), indicate that Jupiter’s magnetic field is even stronger than models expected, and more irregular in shape. MAG data indicates the magnetic field greatly exceeded expectations at 7.766 Gauss, about 10 times stronger than the strongest magnetic field found on Earth.

“Juno is giving us a view of the magnetic field close to Jupiter that we’ve never had before,” said Jack Connerney, Juno deputy principal investigator and the lead for the mission’s magnetic field investigation at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Already we see that the magnetic field looks lumpy: it is stronger in some places and weaker in others. This uneven distribution suggests that the field might be generated by dynamo action closer to the surface, above the layer of metallic hydrogen. Every flyby we execute gets us closer to determining where and how Jupiter’s dynamo works.”

Juno also is designed to study the polar magnetosphere and the origin of Jupiter’s powerful auroras—its northern and southern lights. These auroral emissions are caused by particles that pick up energy, slamming into atmospheric molecules. Juno’s initial observations indicate that the process seems to work differently at Jupiter than at Earth.

Juno is in a polar orbit around Jupiter, and the majority of each orbit is spent well away from the gas giant. But, once every 53 days, its trajectory approaches Jupiter from above its north pole, where it begins a two-hour transit (from pole to pole) flying north to south with its eight science instruments collecting data and its JunoCam public outreach camera snapping pictures. The download of six megabytes of data collected during the transit can take 1.5 days.

“Every 53 days, we go screaming by Jupiter, get doused by a fire hose of Jovian science, and there is always something new,” said Bolton. “On our next flyby on July 11, we will fly directly over one of the most iconic features in the entire solar system — one that every school kid knows — Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. If anybody is going to get to the bottom of what is going on below those mammoth swirling crimson cloud tops, it’s Juno and her cloud-piercing science instruments.”

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, manages the Juno mission for NASA. The principal investigator is Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. The Juno mission is part of the New Frontiers Program managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, in Denver, built the spacecraft.

Juno Completes Perijove 6

Juno has completed Perijove 6, the sixth orbit around the planet Jupiter.  The image above is from the previous close pass and was processed by J.P. Hershey one of many citizen scientists processing the images from Juno data.

This data is available to anyone; everyone is encouraged to try their hand at processing and submit their entries.  You can too, just go to NASA’s JunoCam page.  I have made some rather primitive attempts with rather primitive results.  The problem is my knowledge of the program I am using (The GIMP), I am more used to Photoshop CS.  The newest images, from Perijove 6 are already downloaded and available.  Interesting, the images are down and ready before too much of the details of the pass are.  Probably this is due to the pass timing with the weekend.  All seems good, I’m sure we’d know by now if something was amiss.

So, undaunted, I have downloaded a set of images and am trying again.