Universe

Countdown to encounter: NASA probe Juno reaches Jupiter

After five-year journey, the NASA probe Juno on July 5 met the orbit of Jupiter. Then we will see whether the probe secured like a tank can withstand the extreme radiation and strong magnetic field there.

If Juno waving a Tuesday morning early in their husbands of Jupiter’s orbit, which is an exciting encounter. It is not the first time that a spacecraft encountered the largest planet of our solar system, but the little Juno with a diameter of 3.5 m will be the first one, which will orbit Jupiter on a polar orbit for at least a year.

Foto: Nasa/JPL-Caltech
Foto: Nasa/JPL-Caltech

Juno, the name stands not only for “Jupiter near-polar orbiter”. He fits so well also because Juno in Roman mythology was the wife of the Jupiter Chief of the God and had the gift to look through through the clouds, that her husband wanted to conceal some of his deeds.

Juno is to get up to 5000 km on Jupiter

Also the Juno spacecraft to look through a storm cloud cover when she come up to 5000 km of Jupiter and is thus located between the planet and its strong radiation belts.

In August five years ago, solar panels was Juno, equipped with three each nine metres long with a total of over 18,000 solar cells. The energy that Juno from this will pull, reduced close to Jupiter to 400 W, because only 4 percent of the sunlight coming. For the operation of the seven instruments on Juno and for communication, that should suffice.

NASA probe on Jupiter
NASA probe on Jupiter

If waving a Juno with a 35-minute maneuver in Jupiter’s orbit, the probe has been already 2800 million km. Until the end of the mission, which is planned for February 2018, 560 million km are added once again. 36 times to revolve around the giant gas planet, which rotates twice per minute to yourself, Juno. Jupiter has twelve times larger in diameter, a 318 times more massive than the Earth, and is more than twice as large as all the other planets of our solar system together.

Jupiter is made up primarily of helium and hydrogen

Juno is not only precise measures during their mission to Jupiter, the probably oldest planet in our solar system, but also find out how large are the amounts of ammonia and water in the atmosphere. Also interested in the astronomers of NASA for the charged particles of the solar wind, which bombard Jupiter’s atmosphere and produce intense auroras observed by the Hubble space telescope.

NASA probe Juno
NASA probe Juno

Composition of Jupiter is similar to that of the Sun and is composed primarily of hydrogen and helium. Deep in the atmosphere, pressure and temperature rise and condense the hydrogen to a liquid. There, so the scientists suspect the extremely strong magnetic field is established by electrical currents of Jupiter it is 20,000 times more powerful than that of the Earth.

Swarms of charged particles, electrons and ions, forming an intense radiation field, which in turn is extremely dangerous for spacecraft that reside there. Juno is therefore secured with centimeter-thick titanium plates, making a kind of tanks from the spacecraft.

NASA Juno
NASA Juno

The Solarwinde of the planet are already heard. Has Juno already sent to Earth the recordings. You sound in the video as the noise of a large waterfall. The heated solar wind tost at supersonic speeds – until he is stopped by Jupiter’s magnetic field.

How to see Jupiter with the naked eye

August 2016 Jupiter dominates the evening sky and is visible from the Earth with the naked eye as a bright star. With a small telescope, you can recognize even the four largest moons of the planet IO, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, and do the same Galileo Galilei, who had observed the moons in 1610 for the first time and for several weeks long.