It seems like it wasn’t too long ago that NASA’s Juno spacecraft entered orbit around Jupiter, but don’t be fooled, as the spacecraft has been probing the Jovian system for more than three years at the time of this writing.
It's worth noting that Juno and each of its onboard instruments are lasting much longer than scientists initially thought they would, and with that in mind, the spacecraft is working overtime to study Jupiter and its many natural satellites.
To date, Juno has captured a seemingly endless stream of photographs of Jupiter’s atmosphere, but it hasn’t stopped there. Infrared images of Jupiter’s moon Io reveals the world’s intense volcanic activity in a different light, validating the moon’s geothermal activity.
Juno has also contributed to better understanding Jupiter’s magnetic field. Its onboard magnetometer has provided scientists with the most detailed map of the planet’s magnetic field to date, revealing the existence of something called the ‘great blue spot,’ in which the magnetic fields are highly concentrated.
In addition to these, Juno is providing heaps of new data regarding the planet’s auroras and internal structure, and while much of this information is still undergoing analysis, the mission still has plenty of time to help astronomers understand the mechanisms that give Jupiter its many unique properties.
It will indeed be interesting to see what else Juno might teach us about the largest planet in our solar system. After all, it remains very mysterious when compared to Earth.