Juno at Jupiter-Update

   The Juno Spacecraft is now fully engaged in making its planned orbits around the outer planet Jupiter. Since arriving and orbital insertion the spacecraft has made 6 orbits around Jupiter sending back amazing images and advancing our knowledge of the planet and its role in the solar system.
   Showing my age but I can remember how excited I was during the Voyager 1 and 2 flybys of the outer planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune during the 1980s. It was 40 years ago, Voyager 1 September 5th1977 – Voyager 2 August 20th 1977, when the spacecraft were launched. While both were targeted for a Jupiter and Saturn flyby Voyager 2 eventually had its mission rearranged so that it would fly past all four of the outer giant planets in a mission called the ‘Grand Slam’ or ‘Grand Tour’. The images from those flybys were just as exciting as the images we see from the current Juno mission albeit improved after 40 years of imaging technology advances.
   So Where are the two Voyagers now? Click here to find out.
   Click here to go to the NASA Video web site to see a short video (15 minutes) about the Voyager mission to the outer planets. This is part of a video series I often used in my Planetarium and classroom during the 1990s – so please realize that the graphics and animations, as well as some descriptions and some explanations are not necessarily as ‘advanced’ as things are now. However two of my heroes, Dr. Edward Stone, and Dr. Andrew Ingersoll, are featured making comments about some of the Science and discoveries.
   Below is a well done video compilation of images taken by the Juno Spacecraft. Click here to go to the Vimeo web site for the original video.


Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.

A Tale of Two Junos

Juno #1:
   Tuesday April 26th asteroid 3 Juno will be at opposition, that is, it will be 180o from the Sun with the Earth between the two. At opposition, any Sun orbiting object beyond Earth rises at about local time for sunset and sets at local time for sunrise. At about 9th-10th magnitude the asteroid will be too faint to be seen with binoculars or the naked eye. There is, however, a much brighter asteroid shining at a about 5th magnitude, and a few degrees south from Jupiter. This is asteroid Hygiea, the 4th largest asteroid.
   Asteroid 3 Juno was the third asteroid discovered, hence its numerical prefaced name. It was discovered by German astronomer Karl L. Harding in 1804, and it is the 11th largest asteroid.
   Follow asteroid 3 Juno using the Heavens Above web site.

juno-jupiterJuno #2:
   NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter is very near the end of its 5 year journey across the solar system. Launched in August of 2011 the solar powered spacecraft is expected to arrive at Jupiter on July 4th of this year. The Juno mission will place the spacecraft into a polar orbit that will consist of 30 orbits around the planet with each orbit lasting 11 days while Jupiter rotates below every 10 hours. After arrival the mission has a planned length of one year ending in October 2017 with the spacecraft de-orbiting and falling into the planet’s atmosphere.


Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

Did Juno About This?

Juno Earth Flyby - 9 October

Juno Earth Flyby – 9 October

   Tomorrow, 9 October, the Juno spacecraft flies past the Earth coming within 350 miles of our planet as it uses the Earth’s gravity field to help accelerate and aim toward its rendezvous with the planet Jupiter in 2016.
   Be sure to visit the mission web site to learn more about this mission as well as how to download and use imaging processing on images of the Earth taken by the spacecraft during the flyby.
If you are a Ham radio operator there will be an opportunity to send a ‘Hi’ (…. ..) in Morse Code to the spacecraft.

   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

Juno We’re Going to Jupiter?

Yesterday, August 30th, the Juno spacecraft successfully completed the first of two major deep-space maneuvers on its way to a July 4th 2016 arrival at Jupiter. The maneuver yesterday was a nearly 30-minute burn consuming 829 pounds of fuel. The second deep-space maneuver is scheduled for next week on the 4th and will be of similar duration and amount of fuel used.

The Juno spacecraft was launched on August 5th 2011 and is currently on its way toward the Sun not Jupiter. Why? The method used to send spacecraft to the outer regions of the solar system involves a path that swings around the Sun gaining speed from the Sun’s gravity. Additionally the two maneuvers are designed so that the spacecraft will pass by the Earth next year during October using the Earth’s gravitational field to increase the spacecraft speed as well as for guiding it toward Jupiter.

Click here to visit the Juno Mission.

Click here to read the NASA press release.