NASA's Juno probe to make fifth flyby over Jupiter's cloud tops today
NASA's Juno probe is all set to make its fifth flyby over mysterious cloud tops of the gas giant on Monday, March 27, at 1:52 a.m. PDT (4:52 a.m. EDT, 8:52 UTC).
At the time of closest approach, also called perijove, and traveling at a speed of about 129,000 miles per hour, Juno spacecraft will be about 2,700 miles above the Jupiter's cloud tops.
During the flyby, all of Juno's eight science instruments will be switched on to collect data on the gas giant
"This will be our fourth science pass - the fifth close flyby of Jupiter of the mission - and we are excited to see what new discoveries Juno will reveal,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "Every time we get near Jupiter’s cloud tops, we learn new insights that help us understand this amazing giant planet."
Juno has revealed that Jupiter's magnetic fields are more complicated than originally thought, and that the belts and zones that give the planet's cloud tops their distinctive look extend deep into the its interior.
Observations of the energetic particles that create the incandescent auroras suggest a complicated current system involving charged material lofted from volcanoes on Jupiter's moon Io.
The Juno science team continues to analyze returns from previous flybys.
NASA says peer-reviewed papers with more in-depth science results from Juno's first flybys are expected to be published within the next few months.