Check out Juno’s close encounter with Jupiter

Juno's view of Jupiter
Jupiter’s north polar region is coming into view as NASA’s Juno spacecraft approaches the planet. This view was captured on Aug. 27 from a distance of 437,000 miles (Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS / Ted Stryk).

NASA’s Juno spacecraft made its closest scheduled swing over the cloud tops of the giant planet Jupiter today – and sent back pictures.

The solar-powered probe zoomed about 2,600 miles above the clouds at a speed of 130,000 mph, at 6:44 a.m. PT, NASA said. It was the first close encounter since Juno entered Jovian orbit on July 4, 53 days ago.

“Early post-flyby telemetry indicates that everything worked as planned, and Juno is firing on all cylinders,” Rick Nybakken, Juno project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a status update.

Juno had all of its science instruments turned on, plus its JunoCam visible-light imager. Hours after the encounter, NASA released a picture of Jupiter that was snapped during today’s approach from a distance of 437,000 miles. Even closer views are on the way.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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