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Juno spacecraft teases us with first orbital view of Jupiter

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

Scott Sutherland
Meteorologist/Science Writer

Tuesday, July 12, 2016, 10:57 PM - NASA has released the first image from their Juno spacecraft after last week's Jupiter orbital insertion maneuver, and it gives us just a taste of what's in store from this amazing mission.

All the while that Juno was performing a flawless orbital insertion maneuver around Jupiter on the night of July 4, 2016, by necessity, the spacecraft had its camera and other instruments switched off.

Now that it is safely on its way around its first orbit, and NASA has turned its instruments back on, Juno turned around and snapped a new picture of Jupiter, catching three of its largest moons in the process.

This colour image of Jupiter also caught its Great Red Spot, and the moons Io, Europa and Ganymede. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

Taken on July 10, 2016, this image gives us a view of Jupiter from even closer than Juno's last pre-orbital picture, at a distance of 4.3 million kilometres compared to 5 million km on June 29.

This first Jupiter orbit will take a total of 53.5 Earth days, bringing Juno around for another close pass in late August. That's when we'll really see Jupiter in all its glory.

"JunoCam will continue to take images as we go around in this first orbit," Candy Hansen, Juno co-investigator from the Planetary Science Institute, said in a NASA statement. "The first high-resolution images of the planet will be taken on August 27 when Juno makes its next close pass to Jupiter."

"This scene from JunoCam indicates it survived its first pass through Jupiter's extreme radiation environment without any degradation and is ready to take on Jupiter," said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of the Juno mission from the Southwest Research Institute, according to NASA. "We can't wait to see the first view of Jupiter's poles."

Stand by for more to come!

Source: NASA

Watch It Again: NASA presents the Juno spacecraft's view of its destination, taken throughout the month of June.

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