Juno makes fifth pass at Jupiter's cloud tops

NASA’s Juno Spacecraft set for its fifth flyby over Jupiter

The image, originally taken by Juno's "JunoCam" camera, was taken in early February and shows Jupiter's ever-swirling mass of storm clouds from an altitude of roughly 9,000 miles. Juno's next close flyby of Jupiter will occur on May 19th, 2017. While from the original image of Jupiter it was hard to tell whether it was a dark storm, Tkachenko's enhanced version of the image reveals rich detail in the storm and surrounding clouds. Citizen scientist Roman Tkachenko enhanced the color to bring out the rich detail in the storm and surrounding clouds.

NASA's Juno spacecraft made its fifth flyby over Jupiter's mysterious cloud tops on Monday, March 27th, at 1:52am PDT (4:52am EDT, 8:52 UTC). During this process, all of Juno's eight science instruments will be on and collecting data during the flyby.

Juno spaceship traveled inside the radiation belts of the giant planet six times now, including July 4th when Juno made it arrival maneuver, powering its main engine to enter Jupiter's orbit.

"Juno is healthy, its science instruments are fully operational, and the data and images we've received are nothing short of incredible", said Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate.




On its current trajectory, Juno arcs out to a distance several million miles from Jupiter and returns for a high-speed encounter once every 53-and-a-half days. During these flybys, Juno will probe beneath the obscuring cloud cover of Jupiter and study the existence of a solid planetary core, map Jupiter's intense magnetic field, measure the amount of water and ammonia in the deep atmosphere, and explore the swirling clouds that form Jupiter's colorful, trademark atmosphere.

The NASA Juno Mission will come to an end in February 2018 when the probe will plunge into Jupiter and will intentionally crash-land after 20 months in orbit. This is because Juno is in an elliptical orbit around Jupiter. It arrived in orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016.

Such a perspective will allow Juno's science team to study the complex network of magnetic field lines around Jupiter, and help sort out the drivers behind Jupiter's auroras, separating auroras induced by internal convection and the solar wind.

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