Juno Reaches Jupiter

The aurora of Jupiter's northern pole, as seen by the Juno satellite.Image Credit: NASA, ESA and J. Nichols (University of Leicester)

The Juno Mission is now in a large elliptical orbit about Jupiter. The orbital radius varies from 4200 km (2600 miles) at perijove, out to 7900 km (4900 miles) at apjove: an even greater distance than Callisto's orbital radius. The perijovian phase of Juno's orbit will be occupied by collecting the most detailed data and images ever gathered from a Jovian mission, whilst much of the remaining orbital path was designed to allow almost constant exposure of its solar panels to the incredibly weak sunlight. The North to South orbital path takes just shy of 14 days to complete and was designed to minimise Juno's exposure to the intense radiation trapped inside Jupiter's enormous and extremely powerful magnetosphere.

The best thing about NASA missions is that it is almost always the case that everyone benefits from them. They often inform the development of our technology, provide hard data to test/develop our understanding of nature, or simply allow us to admire the beauty of nature. I'm looking forward to the scientific discoveries that may be made like, hopefully, learning more about the origin of Jupiter, but I also wanna' see more pretty pictures.

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  • Astronomy
  • Science