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NASA’s Juno spacecraft completes flyby over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

NASA’s unmanned spacecraft Juno has successfully peered into the Jupiter’s giant storm known as the Great Red Spot. It became first space probe to complete flyby of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

The Great Red Spot on Jupiter is a massive storm (cyclone) measuring about 16,000 km in diameter. It is largest known storm in the solar system.  It has been monitored since 1830 and has possibly existed for more than 350 years.

The winds in the storm are clocked at hundreds of km an hour around its outer edges. Little is known about the forces driving it. The spot appears as a deep, red orb surrounded by layers of pale yellow, orange and white. The storm is believed to have been shrinking in recent years.

About Juno spacecraft

NASA had launched unmanned spacecraft Juno on August 5, 2011 from Cape Canaveral, Florida as part of its New Frontiers program. It has been orbiting Jupiter, solar system’s largest planet from July 2016.

The spacecraft has been named from Greco-Roman mythology. It is orbiting Jupiter from pole to pole, 5,000 kilometers above planet’s cloud tops. It has mission life istill February 2018.

Its mission is to understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter, investigate the existence of a solid planetary Jupiter’s core, map Jupiter’s intense magnetic field, measure the amount of water and ammonia in the deep atmosphere and observe Jupiter’s aurora.

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NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Discovers Earth-Sized Storms on Jupiter

NASA’s Juno spacecraft has discovered Earth-sized cyclones at the poles of the Jupiter. It has also unveiled the presence of the storm systems that travel deep into the heart of the planet. Both the poles of the Jupiter were found to be covered with Earth-sized swirling storms which are densely clustered and rubbing together. The findings were the result of the Juno probe’s first data-collection pass on August last year. The spacecraft flew for about 4,200 kilometres of Jupiter’s swirling cloud top. The findings suggest the presence of ammonia clouds over the planet which are quite variable and continue to increase up to a few hundred miles or kilometres.

Measurements of Jupiter’s magnetosphere indicate that Jupiter has a stronger magnetic field than expected which is more irregular in shape. The magnetic field in the planet is in the order of 7.766 Gauss which is about 10 times stronger than the strongest magnetic field found on Earth.

The next flyby of the Juno Probe has been scheduled for July 11. During the flyby, the spacecraft will fly directly over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.

Juno Spacecraft

Juno was launched in August 2011 to study Jupiter’s composition and evolution. It’s the first solar powered spacecraft to orbit Jupiter. It is second spacecraft to orbit Jupiter, after Galileo probe which had orbited the planet from 1995–2003. The unmanned spacecraft had successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit in July 2016 after a five year journey and traversing distance of nearly 2 billion miles. The primary goals behind the launch of Juno is to find out whether Jupiter has a solid core, study of the formation of its atmosphere and magnetosphere, and to ascertain whether or not water is present in the gas cloud shrouding the planet. Juno has nine instruments on board to study atmosphere, gravity, magnetic field and possible existence of solid core in Jupiter. The information gathered from it will provide vital clues to how the planet has formed and evolved. The spacecraft has been named after the Roman goddess Juno, the wife of Jupiter who is considered as the god of the sky in ancient Greco-Roman mythology.

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