Jupiter has at least 69 natural moons, reports Scientific American, with the latest distant dots of joy uncovered via images taken by NASA's Juno spacecraft.
Until recently the cataloged satellites totaled 67 in number. But only the innermost 15 of these orbit Jupiter in a prograde sense (in the direction of the planet's spin). The rest are retrograde, and are likely captured objects - other pieces of the solar system's solid inventory that strayed into Jupiter's gravitational grasp.
That population of outer moons is mostly small stuff, only a few are 20-60 kilometers in diameter, most are barely 1-2 kilometers in size, and increasingly difficult to spot.
Now astronomers Scott Sheppard, David Tholen, and Chadwick Trujillo have added two more; bringing Jupiter's moon count to 69.
Perfect for your pirate base/villain lair/secret Space CIA prison/unsettling scientific experiments lab/taco stand. Read the rest
From Nasa's Juno probe:
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This image shows Jupiter’s south pole, as seen by NASA’s Juno spacecraft from an altitude of 32,000 miles (52,000 kilometers). The oval features are cyclones, up to 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) in diameter. Multiple images taken with the JunoCam instrument on three separate orbits were combined to show all areas in daylight, enhanced color, and stereographic projection.
An update on the Juno mission, from NASA. Read the rest
Having successfully slipped into orbit around Jupiter, Juno sent its first image back to Earth.
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NASA on Tuesday released an image taken by the satellite on Sunday from a distance of 2.7 million miles; it even shows the Great Red Spot, though the famous storm has been shrinking in recent decades and may not be as great as it once was.
“We’re quite pleased that we survived going through Jupiter orbit insertion,” said Candice Hansen-Koharcheck, a scientist at Planetary Science Institute in Tucson who is responsible for the operation of the camera. “The fact it’s a beautiful image is
already a good thing.”
On July 4, NASA plans to fly a solar-powered spacecraft the size of a basketball court within 2,900 miles (4,667 kilometers) of Jupiter's cloud tops. It's part of the JUNO mission, and Boing Boing plans to cover the big event live from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory——so, watch this space, because we are fascinated by all things space. Read the rest
Hey Jupiter, I hope you're ready for your close-up.
Recently, I was granted the rare privilege of stepping inside one of the largest cleanrooms at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratories. I was there to learn about this year's blockbuster space mission, Juno, and chat with some super smart science and engineering people who worked on the project. Read the rest