JUL 13, 2016 09:39 AM PDT

NASA Releases First Photo of Jupiter Since Juno Orbit Insertion

Juno has been in orbit around Jupiter, our solar system’s largest planet, for a little over a week following a successful orbit insertion on Independence Day (July 4th, 2016).
 
Although the spacecraft hasn’t had much of a chance to study the planet just yet, Juno has acquired some photographs of the gassy planet, and NASA has just released its first image from Juno’s onboard JunoCam this week.
 

Jupiter and three of its moons, as soon from the JunoCam.

 Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

The photograph shows Jupiter off in the distance, as well as three of the planet’s moons: Io, Europa, and Ganymede.
 
"This scene from JunoCam indicates it survived its first pass through Jupiter's extreme radiation environment without any degradation and is ready to take on Jupiter," said Scott Bolton, principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "We can't wait to see the first view of Jupiter's poles."
 
You might be wondering why Jupiter is so far away from Juno in this photograph; after all, shouldn’t the satellite be closer to the planet it’s trying to study in order to learn more about it?
 
It turns out that Juno isn’t in a perfectly circular orbit around Jupiter. Due to its high gravitational pull, Juno is actually in a slingshot-shaped orbit around the planet, and there are times when it gets really close to it, as well as when it gets really far from it.
 
The representative diagram below, shared by the New York Times in an infographic, shows how the orbital pattern for Juno will look:
 

Juno's orbit around Jupiter.

 
Because of this oddly-shaped orbit, Juno is currently headed away from Jupiter, and it will be a little while before it gets really close again. Juno will orbit Jupiter like this a grand total of 37 times during its operational life.
 
We will probably get plenty of photographs from the distant pass, but when Juno gets close again, all attention will be put on the spacecraft’s sensors, which will sample Jupiter’s atmosphere to gain information about the atmospheric composition, magnetic fields, and other significant planetary qualities.
 
Source: NASA, via New York Times

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
MAY 29, 2018
Space & Astronomy
MAY 29, 2018
SpaceX's Latest Falcon 9 Launch Melted a Photographer's Camera
The Falcon 9 rocket that SpaceX launched last Tuesday became somewhat famous; not just for sending NASA’s GRACE-FO mission into space, but also becau...
JUL 03, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUL 03, 2018
Astronomers Capture the Formation of a Young Exoplanet
The mechanisms responsible for planetary formation have captivated astronomers for as long as we can remember, but a newly-captured image of a distant star...
JUL 08, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUL 08, 2018
NASA Engineers Install Revolutionary Heat Shield on the Parker Solar Probe
Despite all the things we’ve learned about the Sun over the years, we still have much to learn. Fortunately, NASA plans to send a specially-made spac...
JUL 31, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
JUL 31, 2018
Where Does Earth Get Its Water
We live on Earth, the so-called blue planet. Without water, Earth would not be "blue" at all, not to mention the life that is bred on the planet...
AUG 27, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 27, 2018
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope Celebrates 15 Years in Space
NASA engineers originally designed the Spitzer Space Telescope to observe the heavens for approximately 2.5 years. But 15 years later, the space observator...
SEP 17, 2018
Space & Astronomy
SEP 17, 2018
SpaceX to Announce First Passenger for Upcoming Commercial Lunar Flight
To date, only 24 humans have journeyed to the Moon. Every one of these visits took place more than four decades ago, with the most recent visit having tran...
Loading Comments...