Category Archives: Juno

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


Update on Juno

The Juno spacecraft is doing great.

Juno has passed Callisto and Ganymede and will pass  Europa in an hour and a half (so that’s around 17:30 UT and then finally Io shortly after that.

The rings of Jupiter although small do possibly pose a hazard, it’s a gamble according to Dr. Scott Bolton (Juno Mission team).  It’s a unknown because we do not know how near the planet the ring extends and we will be on the inside of the known ring plane.

Another unknown will occur later at  19:30 PDT / 03:30  UTC (5 July) and that’s when Juno flies through the intense radiation although hopefully not through the very worse of it for very long.  Will the shielding protect the electronics?

No approach pictures?  No, basically all science instruments are off this time around because that burn is job number one.  The spacecraft will be rotated in such a way the solar panels are not aimed at the sun during the very first pass.

So we have: then engine burn, the radiation belts and the rings to get through.  Good luck Juno!!

Five Facts About the Juno Mission

Five facts about the Juno mission from the BBC.  The video astutely points out, the deal is not done.  The mission is depending on the insertion burn to be successful.

So important is the burn mission managers plan on turning OFF certain features of the on-board computer system just in case some sort of computer anomaly or system restart might interrupt the 35 minute “braking” burn.  The burn is scheduled to begin at 00:18 on 05 July / 20:18 PDT 04 July.

By the way that engine used for the orbital insertion is the LEROS rocket engine manufactured by Moog ISP Westcott United Kingdom.

I should have a mission update shortly after 16:15 UT.



The Juno Approach Movie

As Juno approached Jupiter a series of images were taken between the dates of 10 June to 23 June. We can see the motions of the four Galilean moons.

Notice the moon Callisto, the outermost of the four, it is much dimmer than might be expected and becomes one of the first questions for the mission scientists.

The science instruments will be turned on in a couple of days and the next close encounter between Juno and Jupiter comes at the end of August.