Juno spacecraft successfully completes Great Red Spot flyover

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NASA’s Juno spacecraft has just buzzed over the largest storm in the solar system. While Juno has been in orbit around Jupiter for just over a year, it completed its 7th perijove passe, now it is streaming back the images of Great Red Spot.

Perijove passes

Juno has been orbiting Jupiter for a little over a year on a mission to study the planet’s interior, atmosphere, and magnetosphere. Its elliptical orbit around the planet takes the probe close to the surface for a few hours every 53 days, these are called perijove passes.

The Great Red Spot of Jupiter

  • It is a persistent zone of high pressure, producing an anticyclonic storm on the planet Jupiter.
  • The storm, larger than Earth, has raged in Jupiter’s atmosphere for at least the past 150 years.
  • A massive storm (cyclone) measuring about 16,000 km in diameter. It is largest known storm in the solar system.  It has been monitored since 1830 and has possibly existed for more than 350 years.
  •  The winds in the storm are clocked at hundreds of km an hour around its outer edges. Little is known about the forces driving it. The spot appears as a deep, red orb surrounded by layers of pale yellow, orange and white. The storm is believed to have been shrinking in recent years.

Next perijove pass will be in September 2017

Juno spacecraftRelated image

  • It is the second spacecraft to orbit Jupiter, after the nuclear powered Galileo orbiter, which orbited from 1995 to 2003.
  • Juno is a NASA space probe orbiting the planet Jupiter. . The spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on August 5, 2011 (UTC), as part of the New Frontiers program.and entered a polar orbit of Jupiter on July 5, 2016 (UTC),to begin a scientific investigation of the planet.
  • The spacecraft has been named from Greco-Roman mythology. It is orbiting Jupiter from pole to pole, 5,000 kilometers above planet’s cloud tops. It has mission life istill February 2018.

Objective of  the mission

  • To measure Jupiter’s composition, gravity field, magnetic field, and polar magnetosphere.
  • It will also search for clues about how the planet formed, including whether it has a rocky core, the amount of water present within the deep atmosphere, mass distribution, and its deep winds, which can reach speeds of 618 kilometers per hour.

 

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