News

02.01.17

It’s Never 'Groundhog Day' at Jupiter
NASA Juno Flies By Gas Giant 

Jovian 'Antarctica'

Cyclones swirl around the south pole, and white oval storms can be seen near the limb -- the apparent edge of the planet -- in this image of Jupiter’s south polar region taken by the JunoCam imager aboard NASA’s Juno spacecraft. The image was acquired on February 2, 2017, at 5:52 a.m. PST (8:52 a.m. EST) from an altitude of 47,600 miles (76,600 kilometers) above Jupiter’s swirling cloud deck. 

Prior to the Feb. 2 flyby, the public was invited to vote for their favorite points of interest in the Jovian atmosphere for JunoCam to image. The point of interest captured here was titled “Jovian Antarctica” by a member of the public, in reference to Earth's Antarctica.  

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

NASA's Juno spacecraft will make its fourth flyby over Jupiter's mysterious cloud tops on Thursday, Feb. 2, at 4:57 a.m. PST (7:57 a.m. EST, 12:57 UTC).

At the time of closest approach (called perijove), Juno will be about 2,670 miles (4,300 kilometers) above the planet's cloud tops and traveling at a speed of about 129,000 mph (57.8 kilometers per second) relative to the gas giant. All of Juno's eight science instruments, including the Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument, will be on and collecting data during the flyby. 

"Tomorrow may be 'Groundhog Day' here on Earth, but it's never Groundhog Day when you are flying past Jupiter,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "With every close flyby we are finding something new." 

The Juno science team continues to analyze returns from previous flybys. Revelations include that Jupiter's magnetic fields and aurora are bigger and more powerful than originally thought and that the belts and zones that give the gas giant’s cloud top its distinctive look extend deep into the planet’s interior. Peer-reviewed papers with more in-depth science results from Juno’s first three flybys are expected to be published within the next few months. Also, JunoCam, the first interplanetary outreach camera, is now being guided with the assistance from the public -- people can participate by voting for what features on Jupiter should be imaged during each flyby.

Information about JunoCam voting is available at:
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6722    

Members of the media, please contact:

D.C. Agle
Juno Media Relations Representative
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

(818) 393-9011
Dwayne Brown
NASA Public Affairs Officer
NASA Headquarters

(202) 358-1726

Where is Juno now?

Visualize Juno’s journey through space and get up-to-date data sets using NASA's Eyes on the Solar System 3D interactive.