Jupiter | Juno Flyby | Venus Conjunction

On 27 August 2016, Jupiter was involved in two interesting events. At around 7:44 am CDT the Juno spacecraft made a very close and fast flyby of the planet going 130,000 mph. It came within 2600 miles of the cloud tops, the closest to the clouds for the entire mission of 35 more orbits. NASA reported the entire suite of scientific instruments was turned on and functioned well. Data will be returned over the next days and weeks.

2016_0827JunoPass

JupPoleView

The image at left is a view of the north pole of Jupiter just prior to the flyby. The polar orbit is a first for Jupiter exploration.

According to Scott Bolton, principal investigator, “We are getting some intriguing early data returns as we speak. It will take days for all the science data collected during the flyby to be downlinked and even more to begin to comprehend what Juno and Jupiter are trying to tell us. We are in an orbit nobody has ever been in before, and these images give us a whole new perspective on this gas-giant world.”

High resolution images will be released in the next two weeks.

More information and details about the Juno mission are available at this previous post.


At sunset also on the 27th, Jupiter and Venus aligned about 1/2˚ apart low in the western sky. That is the width of a full-moon. The dense cloud cover earlier in the day gave way to some partially clear sky for the evening show. The air was laden with much moisture and cloud remnants. The planets were visible. But, hazy conditions made their images not sharp and clear. I couldn’t wait for darkness because the clouds were approaching. Below is a wide view and a fully zoomed view. Venus is the upper and brightest of the two.

2016_0827JupVen4

2016_0827JupVen5

Jupiter aligned with Venus but was much more distant, small and dim.

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14 thoughts on “Jupiter | Juno Flyby | Venus Conjunction

  1. Fascinating mission! I understand that massive Jupiter may well be essential to shielding Earth from asteroids and comets and thus enabling life to begin. It will be very interesting to find out whether such gas-giant placement is common in other star systems. If so, the chances of extra-terrestrial life will be much greater.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yesterday evening when I was coming home, I remembered to look up. I stopped making a practice of looking up because the sky was so cloudy and empty. Last night when I came home I looked up and oh my goodness, they were clear. I stood there for several minutes just gazing. It reminded me of doing it as a kid. I as never interested in what they were called, just their existence was what fascinated and moved me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re in accord with that Francis Jammes wrote in “Il va neiger,” “It’s going to snow”:

      On a baptisé les étoiles sans penser
      qu’elles n’avaient pas besoin de nom, et les nombres
      qui prouvent que les belles comètes dans l’ombre
      passeront, ne les forceront pas à passer.

      People baptized the stars without thinking
      That they didn’t need any names, and the numbers
      Which prove that lovely comets will pass along
      Into the darkness won’t make them pass along.

      Like

    • You said you were never interested in what the stars were called but that their very existence fascinated you. Along the same lines, the poem points out that the stars don’t need names.

      Like

    • I am glad you looked up. It sounds as if it was well worth it.

      I am very slow to respond. For the past week, I’ve been in the remote highlands of Scotland with no internet or phone access. Lovely 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post, and great shots of the alignment, Jim. Sorry I didn’t get to it sooner. I’m glad you were able to see it. I tried, but just couldn’t squeeze out enough cloudlessness. Thanks for sharing your photos. It’s the next best thing.

    Liked by 1 person

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