Our Juno spacecraft has just released some exciting new science from its first close flyby of Jupiter!
In case you don’t know, the Juno spacecraft entered orbit around the gas giant on July 4, 2016…about a year ago. Since then, it has been collecting data and images from this unique vantage point.
Juno is in a polar orbit around Jupiter, which means that 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 close two-hour transit flying north to south with its eight science instruments collecting data and its JunoCam camera snapping pictures.
Space Fact: The download of six megabytes of data collected during the two-hour transit can take one-and-a-half days!
Juno and her cloud-piercing science instruments are helping us get a better understanding of the processes happening on Jupiter. These new results portray the planet as a complex, gigantic, turbulent world that we still need to study and unravel its mysteries.
So what did this first science flyby tell us? Let’s break it down…
1. Tumultuous Cyclones
Juno’s imager, JunoCam, has showed us that both of Jupiter’s poles are covered in tumultuous cyclones and anticyclone storms, densely clustered and rubbing together. Some of these storms as large as Earth!
These storms are still puzzling. We’re still not exactly sure how they formed or how they interact with each other. Future close flybys will help us better understand these mysterious cyclones.
Seen above, waves of clouds (at 37.8 degrees latitude) dominate this three-dimensional Jovian cloudscape. JunoCam obtained this enhanced-color picture on May 19, 2017, at 5:50 UTC from an altitude of 5,500 miles (8,900 kilometers). Details as small as 4 miles (6 kilometers) across can be identified in this image.
An even closer view of the same image shows small bright high clouds that are about 16 miles (25 kilometers) across and in some areas appear to form “squall lines” (a narrow band of high winds and storms associated with a cold front). On Jupiter, clouds this high are almost certainly comprised of water and/or ammonia ice.
2. Jupiter’s Atmosphere
Juno’s Microwave Radiometer is an instrument that samples the thermal microwave radiation from Jupiter’s atmosphere from the tops of the ammonia clouds to deep within its atmosphere.
Data from this instrument suggest that the ammonia is quite variable and continues to increase as far down as we can see with MWR, which is a few hundred kilometers. In the cut-out image below, orange signifies high ammonia abundance and blue signifies low ammonia abundance. Jupiter appears to have a band around its equator high in ammonia abundance, with a column shown in orange.
Why does this ammonia matter? Well, ammonia is a good tracer of other relatively rare gases and fluids in the atmosphere…like water. Understanding the relative abundances of these materials helps us have a better idea of how and when Jupiter formed in the early solar system.
This instrument has also given us more information about Jupiter’s iconic belts and zones. Data suggest that the belt near Jupiter’s equator penetrates all the way down, while the belts and zones at other latitudes seem to evolve to other structures.
3. Stronger-Than-Expected Magnetic Field
Prior to Juno, it was known that Jupiter had the most intense magnetic field in the solar system…but measurements from Juno’s magnetometer investigation (MAG) indicate that the gas giant’s magnetic field is even stronger than models expected, and more irregular in shape.
At 7.766 Gauss, it is about 10 times stronger than the strongest magnetic field found on Earth! What is Gauss? Magnetic field strengths are measured in units called Gauss or Teslas. A magnetic field with a strength of 10,000 Gauss also has a strength of 1 Tesla.
Juno is giving us a unique view of the magnetic field close to Jupiter that we’ve never had before. For example, data from the spacecraft (displayed in the graphic above) suggests that the planet’s magnetic field is “lumpy”, meaning its stronger in some places and weaker in others. This uneven distribution suggests that the field might be generated by dynamo action (where the motion of electrically conducting fluid creates a self-sustaining magnetic field) closer to the surface, above the layer of metallic hydrogen. Juno’s orbital track is illustrated with the black curve.
4. Sounds of Jupiter
Juno also observed plasma wave signals from Jupiter’s ionosphere. This movie shows results from Juno’s radio wave detector that were recorded while it passed close to Jupiter. Waves in the plasma (the charged gas) in the upper atmosphere of Jupiter have different frequencies that depend on the types of ions present, and their densities.
Mapping out these ions in the jovian system helps us understand how the upper atmosphere works including the aurora. Beyond the visual representation of the data, the data have been made into sounds where the frequencies and playback speed have been shifted to be audible to human ears.
5. Jovian “Southern Lights”
The complexity and richness of Jupiter’s “southern lights” (also known as auroras) are on display in this animation of false-color maps from our Juno spacecraft. Auroras result when energetic electrons from the magnetosphere crash into the molecular hydrogen in the Jovian upper atmosphere. The data for this animation were obtained by Juno’s Ultraviolet Spectrograph.
During Juno’s next flyby on July 11, the spacecraft 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.
Our Juno mission has been exploring Jupiter since July 2016 with a special passenger on board: JunoCam, an instrument designed to take spectacular close-up color images of the largest planet in our solar system. From the raw images, citizen scientists have processed a range of beautiful photographs that highlight Jupiter’s features, even turning them into works of art. Below, 10 stunning images JunoCam has given us over the past year.
1. Jovian tempest.
This color-enhanced image of a massive, raging storm in Jupiter’s northern hemisphere was captured by our Juno spacecraft during its ninth close flyby on Oct. 24, 2017. The storm is rotating counter-clockwise with a wide range of cloud altitudes, and the darker clouds are expected to be deeper in the atmosphere than the brightest clouds.
2. A southern stunner.
Jupiter’s southern hemisphere shows off in beautiful detail in this image taken on Oct. 24, 2017. The color-enhanced view captures one of the white ovals in the “String of Pearls,” one of eight massive rotating storms at 40 degrees south latitude on the gas giant planet.
3. Dreaming in color.
Artist Mik Petter created this unique digital piece using data from the JunoCam. The art form, known as fractals, uses mathematical formulas to create an infinite variety of form, detail, color and light. The original JunoCam image was taken on July 10, 2017.
4. Jovian moon shadow.
Jupiter’s moon Amalthea casts a shadow on the gas giant planet in this image taken on Sept. 1, 2017. The elongated shape of the shadow is a result of both the location of the moon with relation to Jupiter in this image as well as the irregular shape of the moon itself.
5. 95 minutes over Jupiter.
Once every 53 days, Juno swings close to Jupiter, speeding over its clouds. In about two hours, the spacecraft travels from a perch over Jupiter’s north pole through its closest approach (perijove), then passes over the south pole on its way back out. This sequence shows 11 color-enhanced images from Perijove 8 (Sept. 1, 2017) with the south pole on the left (11th image in the sequence) and the north pole on the right (first image in the sequence).
6. Soaring high.
This striking image of Jupiter was taken on Sept. 1, 2017 as Juno performed its eighth flyby. The spacecraft was 4,707 miles (7,576 kilometers) from the tops of the clouds of the planet at a latitude of about -17.4 degrees. Noteworthy: “Whale’s Tail” and “Dan’s Spot.”
7. In true color.
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 image was taken on July 10, 2017 as the Juno spacecraft performed its seventh close flyby of Jupiter.
8. The ‘face’ of Jupiter.
JunoCam images aren’t just for art and science—sometimes they’re created for a good chuckle. This image, processed by citizen scientist Jason Major, is titled “Jovey McJupiterface.” By rotating the image 180 degrees and orienting it from south up, two white oval storms turn into eyeballs, and the “face” of Jupiter is revealed. The original image was taken by the Juno spacecraft on May 19, 2017.
9. Bands of clouds.
This enhanced-color image of Jupiter’s bands of light and dark clouds was created by citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran. 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 captured the image on May 19, 2017.
10. The edge.
This enhanced-color image of a mysterious dark spot on Jupiter seems to reveal a Jovian “galaxy” of swirling storms. Juno captured this image on Feb. 2, 2017 and citizen scientist Roman Tkachenko enhanced the color to bring out the rich detail in the storm and surrounding clouds. Just south of the dark storm is a bright, oval-shaped storm with high, bright, white clouds, reminiscent of a swirling galaxy. As a final touch, he rotated the image 90 degrees, turning the picture into a work of art.
This is what you expect from your soulmate, whether romantic or platonic. (Remember that soulmate is not necessarily a romantic partner. Juno MOST of the time is about your romantic partnerships but it can refer to your other platonic relationships with people like friends or family members)
Juno in Aries / 1st House - your partner is someone who is confident and strong. This is someone with a sensitive side in them, who likes to tease and is very honest about their feelings. Affectionate, helpful and protective. Someone who will fight for you and will be your partner in crime. Someone who can be clingy. Someone with a little bit gullible, innocent aura about them. Someone with reputation (whether good or bad). Heroic, badass types.
Juno in Taurus / 2nd House - your partner is someone who is sensual and protective. Someone who is affectionate and generous. Someone good looking (according to your own beauty standards) with warm aura about them. Someone who can provide and is loyal and stable. Partner is generous but they are not lavish. Someone who is jealous, likes physical affection but also can keep a conversation going. Someone strong and stable.
Juno in Gemini / 3rd House - your partner is someone who can understand you. Someone who is caring and can help you to open up and express yourself better. Partner who “gets you” and understand that your moodiness is not something bad and annoying. Person who enjoys learning new things and sharing them with you. A mood maker. Someone who likes fun and is entertaining. Someone who is witty and smart and also possess high emotional intelligence. Your partner is loyal, can be clingy and is secretly sensitive.
Juno in Cancer / 4th House - your partner is someone who is a go-getter. Someone caring, very loyal and sensitive. Someone who will show especially with their action that they care about you. The partner is creative, lavish, sweet and understanding. Has motherly qualities. This is someone who wants to build a nest with you and settle. Someone who is jealous and sometimes overly dramatic. Someone really strong, both mentally and emotionally.
Juno in Leo / 5th House - your partner is someone who is breathing and living embodiment of a Hollywood movie character. Someone who is proud and loves to show how much they love you. Someone who is consistent and in need for attention from you. Entertaining and talkative, wants spotlight but knows how and when to share it with you. Very romantic (sometimes even cheesy). Partner with a soft side. Playful. Someone who is young at heart but is also wise, brave and very protective of you. Someone who cares about how they appear to the world. Stylish, Hollywood god.
Juno in Virgo / 6th House - your partner is someone who just “knows”. This person knows how to act in the public. They know how to act with your friends and parents. They know what kind of person they need to be when the situation calls for this. The person is smart and insightful. Gracious and elegant. Someone who has a lot of hidden passion and is very creative. This person show their love mostly with those little gestures. The partner is loving but not in the overwhelming way.
Juno in Libra / 7th House - someone who is strong and intuitive. Someone who is sociable and knows how to act in the company of people. Helpful and kind. Someone who is not judgmental and always is looking at two side of the situation. Confident, charming personality. Trustworthy person. Your partner is someone who value honesty, loyalty and stability. Someone who is stylish and beautiful (according to your own beauty standards).
Juno in Scorpio / 8th House - your partner is someone who is intense. This person may appear mysterious and broody. Someone magnetic with a lot of passion who helps you to bring out passion from yourself too. Someone who has adventorous spirit, loves mysteries and is good at solving problems. Someone intelligent and diplomatic. Generous person with a big heart. Someone who value true intimacy. Some astrologers believe that having Scorpio Juno signifies having a past life karmic bond with your partner.
Juno in Sagittarius / 9th House - your partner is someone with a strong spirit and need for diversity. Partner love travelling, studying and having people from all kind of backgrounds. They may have totally different background than you, they can be from another culture or country. Partner is someone honest, fiery and independent. Indiana Jones type. Someone who is not “smothering”. Someone who always will care about keeping things interesting, fresh and positive.
Juno in Capricorn / 10th House - your partner is someone independent, bold and classy. Someone who value practicality and is patient. Your partner is persistent, logical but have very emotional and soft side inside of them. Your partner is someone who may be a little bit awkward with showing their feelings. They need to be told it is okay to do that. This is someone who has a lot of passion. Trust and intimacy are very important with this person.
Juno in Aquarius / 11th House - your partner is someone with a hidden emotional side. This is someone who prefers to act in the logical manner. Someone hard-working, precise but very passionate and loving on the inside. Someone who has unique opinion and ideas. Similar to Sagittarius this is someone who can have a completely different background than you and can befriend anyone. Strong, independent mind with lot of
acquaintance but a few real friends.
Juno in Pisces / 12th House - your partner is a unique person. This is someone with a contrast personality. Romantic but logical. Passionate but can be detached. Thoughtful but impulsive. This is someone who always try to see the best in people and help others. Someone sassy, smart and kind. This is someone who can take you to another world but can destroy what they created in the blink of an eye if you do them wrong.
Artistic, strong soul.
Some astrologers believe that this placement similar to Scorpio also indicates past life karmic bond.
Juno in the retrograde - when Juno is in the retrograde this person’s desire to have a soulmate may be hidden (they may not believe they exist at all). They may be not showing their interest in having someone, at least not outwardly, they may despise the idea of marriage. They may need a time to realise that they want from their partner and what kind of partner they want.
Swirling bands of light and dark clouds on Jupiter are seen in this image made by citizen scientists using data from our Juno spacecraft. 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 (km) per hour. The lighter areas are regions where gas is rising, and the darker bands are regions where gas is sinking. This image was acquired on May 19, 2017 from about 20,800 miles (33,400km) above Jupiter’s cloud tops.
Our Juno spacecraft will fly over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot on July 10 at 10:06 p.m. EDT. This will be humanity’s first up-close and personal view of the gas giant’s iconic 10,000-mile-wide storm, which has been monitored since 1830 and possibly existing for more than 350 years.
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 July 10 at 9:55 p.m. EDT.
At the time of perijove, Juno will be about 2,200 miles above the planet’s cloud tops. Eleven minutes and 33 seconds later…Juno will have covered another 24,713 miles and will be directly above the coiling crimson cloud tops of the Great Red Spot. The spacecraft will pass about 5,600 miles above its clouds.
When will we see images from this flyby?
During the flyby, all eight of the spacecraft’s instruments will be turned on, as well as its imager, JunoCam. Because the spacecraft will be collecting data with its Microwave Radiometer (MWR), which measures radio waves from Jupiter’s deep atmosphere, we cannot downlink information during the pass. The MWR can tell us how much water there is and how material is moving far below the cloud tops.
During the pass, all data will be stored on-board…with a downlink planned afterwards. Once the downlink begins, engineering data from the spacecraft’s instruments will come to Earth first, followed by images from JunoCam.
The unprocessed, raw images will be located HERE, on approximately July 14. Follow @NASAJuno on Twitter for updates.
Did you know you can download and process these raw images?
We invite the public to act as a virtual imaging team…participating in key steps of the process, from identifying features of interest to sharing the finished images online. After JunoCam data arrives on Earth, members of the public can process the images to create color pictures. The public also helps determine which points on the planet will be photographed. Learn more about voting on JunoCam’s next target HERE.
JunoCam has four filters: red, green, blue and near-infrared. We get red, green and blue strips on one spacecraft rotation (the spacecraft rotation rate is 2 revolutions per minute) and the near-infrared strips on the second rotation. To get the final image product, the strips must be stitched together and the colors lined up.
Anything from cropping to color enhancing to collaging is fair game. Be creative!