50 orbits around Jupiter: Amazing anniversary of the Juno mission

On April 8, the Juno probe completed another orbit around Jupiter. It has already become the fiftieth for the mission. In honor of this event, mission specialists published a collage made up of the most iconic Juno images.

A collage of the 50 best pictures of the Juno mission. Source: NASA

In the Juno photos, you can see both Jupiter and some of its largest moons. They demonstrate numerous gas vortices raging in the atmosphere of the gas giant, the famous Great Red Spot, as well as a hexagon-shaped system of cyclones at its south pole. From the moons of the planet, Io, Europa and Ganymede got into the frame. In one of the photos, you can also see the shadow cast by Ganymede on the clouds of Jupiter.

All images were taken using the JunoCam camera installed on the probe. It is often called the “people’s” camera. This was due to the fact that initially NASA was not going to put an optical instrument on the Juno probe at all, arguing that it was not required to carry out the scientific program of the mission. However, both the scientific community and ordinary astronomy enthusiasts strongly criticized this decision. As a result, NASA still installed a camera on the Juno probe. Moreover, the aerospace administration has created a special website for it, where amateur astronomers can choose and vote for the most interesting parts of the atmosphere in their opinion, which should be captured by JunoCam.

Curiously, the “warranty” period of operation of JunoCam was only seven orbits around Jupiter. Engineers feared that the planet’s powerful radiation belts would quickly disable it. But JunoCam has demonstrated itself from the best side and has far exceeded all expectations in terms of the timing of its work. In the winter of 2023, NASA reported problems with overheating of the camera, which led to the loss of part of its images. Subsequently, the mission specialists managed to correct the situation.

NASA hopes that JunoCam will be able to function further. In the coming years, Juno is waiting for a number of very interesting events, for which a workable camera will be very useful to it. These include rendezvous with Io and the rings of Jupiter, as well as a low-altitude flight over the night side of the gas giant.

According to https://www.missionjuno.swri.edu

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