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Jupiter Orbit Insertion
Mission Flight Plan
Exploring Jupiter's Magnetic Field
NASA is sending the Juno spacecraft to Jupiter, to peer beneath its cloudy surface and explore the giant planet's structure and magnetic field. Juno's twin magnetometers, built at Goddard Space Flight Center, will give scientists their first look within Jupiter at the powerful dynamo that drives its magnetic field. In this interview, Deputy Principal Investigator Jack Connerney discusses the Juno mission and its magnetometers.
This video is public domain and can be downloaded from the Scientific Visualization Studio at:
Jupiter is shown with several important components of its magnetosphere in this artist's representation. The planet's magnetic field is represented by soft purple lines that connect its north and south magnetic poles. Jupiter's brilliant auroras glow at the poles, while the bright areas to the left and right of the planet's equator represent the regions of most intense charged particle radiation - Jupiter's inner radiation belts. The Juno spacecraft will, broadly speaking, pass between the planet and the most intense areas of radiation.
This view visualizes only the inner part of the magnetosphere. The complete Jovian magnetosphere is an enormous, tadpole-shaped structure that balloons out to dozens of Jupiter widths around the planet. In the direction away from the sun, the magnetotail extends as far as the orbit of Saturn.
Jupiter's Synchrotron Emission
Movie made from observations of Jupiter by the radio telescopes of the Very Large Array. Jupiter's spin axis is offset from its magnetic poles - meaning Jupiter has a "true north" and "magnetic north" like our planet does. This movie demonstrates the offset. Seen here is a type of radio emission from Jupiter called synchrotron emission, which is closely linked to the planet's magnetic field. Due to the offset, the synchrotron emission (and thus the magnetic field) appears to wobble as the planet rotates on its axis.
The scale of colors from blue ("low") to yellow ("high") represents the intensity of synchrotron emission, which is an indicator of the presence of electrons moving at nearly the speed of light. First observed in the late 1950s, the presence of these electrons was an early indicator to scientists that Jupiter was surrounded by belts of charged particle radiation.
Jupiter's magnetosphere occupies an enormous volume of space. It extends outward around Jupiter to between 75 and 100 times the planet's width. The solar wind also pushes on and stretches Jupiter's magnetosphere into a shape like a windsock. This "tail" reaches as far as the orbit of Saturn.
This animation depicts the path of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft in 2007 as it passed through Jupiter's magnetosphere and continued down the windsock-shaped tail, called the magnetotail. New Horizons is scheduled to fly through the Pluto-Charon dwarf planet system in 2015
NASA/JHU/APL/SwRI Original release:
Details in the radiation belts close to Jupiter are mapped in these images using measurements made by NASA's Cassini spacecraft as it flew past the giant planet in 2000. The colorful glow around the planet is from radio emission produced by high-energy electrons moving at nearly the speed of light within the radiation belts. The three views show the belts at different points in Jupiter's 10-hour rotation. A picture of Jupiter is superimposed to show the size of the belts relative to the planet
NASA/JPL Full caption: