NASA shares Juno’s first orbital view of Jupiter

Jupiter and moons
This view from JunoCam shows Jupiter at far left, with the moons Io, Europa and Ganymede in orbit. (Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS)

It’s not the closest close-up of Jupiter, but it’s the first view provided by NASA’s Juno probe since it went into orbit around the giant planet on July 4.

The image released today shows Jupiter and its Great Red Spot, as well as the moons Io, Europa and Ganymede, from a distance of 2.7 million miles. The picture was taken by Juno’s visible-light camera at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, shortly after it was turned on in the wake of orbital insertion. At the time, Juno was on the outbound leg of its initial 53.5-day capture orbit.

“The 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,” Scott Bolton, mission principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, said in today’s image advisory. “We can’t wait to see the first view of Jupiter’s poles.”

JunoCam will continue to capture images as it zooms through its first orbit, but the first high-resolution pictures of Jupiter won’t be taken until Aug. 27, when Juno makes its next close encounter.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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