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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Postcards from Jupiter

Hubble's Jupiter    (Public Domain)
Back in the day, it was exciting to receive postcards from London and Paris.  Now just hours away from anywhere on Earth, such destinations have become quite routine.

Earthlings, however, still get excited about “postcards” from outer space.  The planet is now abuzz with early images from NASA’s Juno spacecraft.

Having arrived “in orbit around Jupiter on July 4,” Juno’s equipment was temporarily turned off for protection from extreme radiation.  By July 10, the Juno Cam was again ready to roll.

The first photo has now been sent to Earth.  “Composed of the first several images from Juno’s orbit of Jupiter,” it shows the gas giant’s red spot, plus moons Io, Europa and Ganymede.

This fledgling photo was taken “from a distance of 2.7 million miles.”  Later within its egg-shaped orbit, Juno will “skim the tops of Jupiter’s clouds,” a mere 2,600 miles away from the planet.  The “postcards” should be quite revealing by then.


Copyright July 13, 2016 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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