sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Monday, July 4, 2016

Encounter with Jupiter

Jupiter's Aurora
Besides being Independence Day in the US (and the bbq orgy and fireworks continue), NASA's Juno mission to Jupiter has arrived and will conduct a burn to  put itself into orbit around the mighty planet.
(NASA) As of noon (Pacific time) today, July 2, NASA’s Juno mission was 1.79 million miles (2.88 million kilometers) from Jupiter -- and closing. The solar-powered spacecraft will cross the orbit of the outermost Galilean moon, Callisto, on July 3 at about 11 a.m. PDT (2 p.m. EDT). The orbits of Ganymede, Europa and Io (the other Galilean moons), will be crossed on July 4 at about 4 a.m. PDT (7 a.m. EDT), 10:30 a.m. PDT (1:30 p.m. EDT) and 2:15 p.m. PDT (5:15 p.m. EDT) respectively. These four largest moons of Jupiter are named the Galilean moons because they were discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1609.
On July 4, at 8:18 p.m. PDT, Juno will fire its main engine, beginning a 35-minute burn that will place it into orbit around Jupiter.

During its mission of exploration, Juno will circle the Jovian world 37 times, soaring low over the planet's cloud tops -- as close as about 2,600 miles (4,100 kilometers). During these flybys, Juno will probe beneath the obscuring cloud cover of Jupiter and study its auroras to learn more about the planet's origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.
"The atmospheric pressure at Earth is about one bar; at the centre of Jupiter it is 80 million bar," explained mission team-member Fran Bagenal from the University of Colorado. "That's like a thousand elephants, one on top of the other, with the bottom elephant standing on a stiletto."

This should be a fun mission to follow.