Juno Update at Jupiter:
What’s Happening to the Great Red Spot?
Fran Bagenal, University of Colorado, Boulder
Thursday, May 20th at 7:00 via Zoom
The giant planet Jupiter is recognized by its orange and white stripes—and its Great Red Spot (GRS). A large red storm in Jupiter’s atmosphere has been observed by modest Earth-based telescopes for centuries. In 1979 the Voyager spacecraft made movies of the GRS which showed that it is about the size of two Earth diameters and had hurricane-scale wind speeds that circulated in six days. Since July 4, 2016, NASA’s Juno spacecraft has been in orbit around Jupiter and made more than 30 orbits over Jupiter’s poles. Fortuitously, in the past year, Juno made some passes close to the GRS, providing new measurements of the depth of the storm and its turbulent atmospheric structures. In this talk, LASP scientist Fran Bagenal will show how Jupiter’s Great Red Spot has been observed by telescopes on Earth as well as from spacecraft near Jupiter. The storm has noticeably shrunk in size over the past 40 years…Will it disappear? Will it grow back to the size it was during the Voyager epoch?
Dr. Fran Bagenal was born and grew up in England. In 1976, inspired by NASA’s missions to Mars and the prospect of the Voyager mission, she moved to the US for graduate study at MIT. After Voyager flybys of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune she joined the faculty at the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1989. She was professor of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences until 2015 when she chose to focus on NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto (flyby July 14, 2015) and Juno mission to Jupiter. Juno went into orbit over the poles of Jupiter on July 4, 2016 and has since made 33 passes over Jupiter’s swirling clouds. She remains a Research Scientist at CU’s Laboratory for Atmospheric & Space Physics in Boulder.
Information on previous months’ talks can be found on our Presentations page.
Is there a new Auroral Feature on Jupiter?
Scientists from the Southwest Research Institute, which has offices in Boulder, Colorado, and is based in San Antonio, Texas, have detected new, faint aurora features on Jupiter. The features were detected by the SwRI-led Ultraviolet Spectrograph (UVS) orbiting Jupiter aboard NASA’s Juno spacecraft.
An article in Forbes describes Juno's 33rd flyby, which resulted in more spectacular images of Jupiter. The article also mentions the citizen scientists who processed the raw data, outlines Juno's extended mission through September of 2025-which involves flybys of four Jovian moons-and talks about various insights gained from Juno's different perspectives of Jupiter.
Southwest Research Institute's JunoCam website invites you to participate in the mission, shows raw data from it, gives a behind the scenes look at the decision-making processes and allows citizen scientists to try their hand at image processing. The link here takes you to the image processing page, but check out the Think Tank link while you're there.
Check out NASA's website for downloadable Apps, Podcasts, e-Books and more
NASA's website offers several downloads, among them its own app, which includes videos on demand, a Solar System Exploration feature, daily images like the one at left, and more.
You can see them on the NASA downloads page, or go via the LAS Educational and Community Outreach page.
This image, of a black hole shooting jets for millions of trillions of miles, is just one of thousands available on the NASA app.
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, S. Baum and C. O'Dea (RIT), R. Perley and W. Cotton (NRAO/AUI/NSF), and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)