Monday, July 4, 2016

Watch NASA's Juno spacecraft enter Jupiter's orbit

Juno above Jupiter
UPDATE: Juno is now orbiting jupiter. It is the second successful probe in Jupiter's orbit since the end of mission Galileo in 2003!

Amongst it being July 4th, many Americans and people around the world have their eyes set on JunoCam.

NASA's $1.13 billion spacecraft that has been in the solar system for 5 years, waiting to orbit around Jupiter Monday night. This has been a dream come true for scientists as they have always wanted more people to get involved with science, and are working with amateur astronomers to take photos of Jupiter and help NASA identify the environment of Jupiter's atmosphere.
The plan is for having people around the world vote on what points of interest Juno should focus on and look at during its mission.

Currently, the JunoCam is turned off in order to protect the valuable probe as it hopes to enter Jupiter's orbit. And once it makes it into the atmosphere it will send back information and resources that will allow scientist and people around the world discover new and invaluable information about our Solar System.

However, Juno has already started to work its magic with latest images released by NASA. The images show Jupiter and its four Galilean moons: lo, Callisto, Ganymede, and Europa. The photos are from June 29th, when the craft was approximately 3.3 million miles from the planet. There is also a timelapse video that show's Juno's progression towards Jupiter.

Jupiter surrounded by moons
Here's an annotated version by CalTech:

Jupiter moons annotated
And here is the timelapse:

Overall, the engineers and scientists of the project believe that “Everyone in the world can be part of the JunoCam experiment," JunoCam operations engineer Elsa Jensen said at JPL.

It is expected that we should be able to see Juno enter Jupiter's orbit by around midnight on the east coast. I've added a live feed from YouTube if you plan on watching it!

Watch it Live:

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