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Juno snaps its first pic of Jupiter

Image indicates spacecraft healthy after navigating gas giant’s harsh environs

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4:39pm, July 13, 2016
Jupiter and its moons

PLANET PORTRAIT  Jupiter and three of its moons (left to right: Io, Europa and Ganymede) pose for a July 10 family portrait. It’s the first snapshot taken by the Juno spacecraft since arriving at the planet on July 4.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft has sent back its first picture of Jupiter since arriving at the planet July 4 (SN: 7/23/16, p. 14). The image, taken July 10 when the spacecraft was 4.3 million kilometers from Jupiter, shows off the planet’s clouds, its Great Red Spot (a storm a bit wider than Earth) and three of its moons (Io, Europa and Ganymede).

Juno is on the outbound leg of its first of two 53.5-day orbits of the gas giant (Juno will then settle into 14-day orbits). During orbit insertion, all of Juno’s scientific instruments were turned off while the spacecraft made its first dive through the harsh radiation belts that encircle the planet. This first image indicates that Juno is in good health and ready to study the largest planet in the solar system.

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