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The value of continued support of the Juno mission from amateur observers

Presentation #115.01 in the session Community Science and Public Engagement in Planetary Science, Astronomy, and Solar Eclipses (Oral Presentation)

Published onOct 23, 2023
The value of continued support of the Juno mission from amateur observers

The extended portion of NASA’s Juno mission (August 2021 - September 2025) expands Juno’s science goals beyond those of the prime mission. Atmospheric studies will continue to be among the foremost of science goals and an area in which the world-wide community of Jupiter observers can provide significant contextual support. Juno’s remote-sensing observations will take advantage of the migration of its closest approaches (“perijoves” or PJs) toward increasingly northern latitudes. The observations should include close-ups of the circumpolar cyclones and semi-chaotic cyclones known as “folded filamentary regions”. A series of radio occultations will provide vertical profiles of electron density and the neutral-atmospheric temperature over several atmospheric regions. The mission will also map the variability of lightning on Jupiter’s night side. We note that on PJ34, the orbital period was reduced from 53 days to 43-44 days and again on PJ45 to 38 days; it will be shortened again on PJ57 to ~33 days, providing virtually monthly observations, for which we are requesting support from the amateur community. Those contributions are invaluable because of their 24/7 coverage of Jupiter that complements not only Juno but supporting professional observations of Jupiter that cover a broader spectral range. Past support included strong interactions between the Great Red Spot and smaller anticyclones (Sanchez-Lavega et al. 2021. J. Geophys. Res. 126, e006686) and the occurrence and evolution of prominent and unusual vortices, such as “Clyde’s spot” (Hueso et al. 2022. Icarus 380,114994). The continued tracking of outbreaks in the southern part of the North Equatorial Belt (NEB) also greatly informed the Juno team and supporting astronomers regarding the systematic longitudinal distribution of outbreaks and the range of atmospheric features they generate. A perijove-by-perijove summary of Juno-supporting observations – past, current and planned - is available at the following web site: As of the spring of 2023 (PJ50), Juno’s perijoves migrated to Jupiter’s nightside. Thus, images from this community will be even more important in order to provide a context for several investigations. Lightning searches will be chief on JunoCam’s agenda during this part of the mission. But similar contextual information will be sought for measurements by the JIRAM instrument’s high-resolution maps of 5-µm thermal emission, as well as the Microwave Radiometer (MWR) measurements of thermal emission from the deep atmosphere.

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