The Juno spacecraft is now in orbit around Jupiter

illustration of Juno spacecraft in orbit around Jupiter

NASA’s Juno spacecraft (illustrated) successfully arrived at Jupiter on July 4, beginning a 20-month visit to the giant planet.


Jupiter has a new visitor. After traveling 2.8 billion kilometers across space, NASA’s Juno probe — a mission to investigate Jupiter’s deep interior (SN: 6/25/16, p. 16) — arrived at the giant planet July 4.

Juno’s scientific instruments were switched off on June 29 before the probe slid into its first of 37 orbits, so there are no pictures to celebrate its arrival. Scientists won’t get their first intimate look until Juno swoops in again on August 27, with all of its instruments operating.

After one more 53-day loop around Jupiter, Juno will start a series of 14-day orbits in October that will take the spacecraft over the north and south poles while soaring just 5,000 kilometers from the tops of the clouds that enshroud the planet. 

Christopher Crockett is an Associate News Editor. He was formerly the astronomy writer from 2014 to 2017, and he has a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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