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Thu, 19 Mar 2015 - Amateur Support for the Juno Mission

The Juno spacecraft was launched in 2011 and will reach Jupiter in July 2016 where it will carry out over 30 highly elliptical orbits. The purpose of the mission is to determine the abundance and distribution of water in Jupiter’s atmosphere, map the gravitational field of the planet and also to study the electromagnetic environment over all longitudes of the planet.

The aim is to determine the structure, composition and dynamic motion of Jupiter’s interior and to try and relate easily detectable surface features with movement in the deep interior. Fascinating as this is, one very important aspect is that amateur observers on Earth can greatly help the Juno scientists by providing images which they can then use to build a precise time-based database of surface features and which they can relate to the data produced by Juno. In addition there may be room for the probe to be targeted on both large and small scale transient features; perhaps even atmospheric scarring from impact events, using the probe to see what is going on beneath the surface marked by these features.

The point is that professional observatories do not have the resources or time to devote to Jupiter that the Juno Project needs; which is where we come in!

If you look in the reference section of the planetary section on this website you will find a list of downloadable PDF documents, one of which is information on the Juno Project provided by Dr. Glenn Orton PhD of the Juno mission. This contains information on how to submit images, including the supported formats and the preferred file type for the project. At the moment the Juno team would like amateurs to try submitting one or two of their best images just to see how they can best deal with the information. The project proper will go live in the autumn and run into summer next year when detailed amateur observations will be vital to the project.

Please consider downloading the PDF file if you think you can make a useful contribution. This same file can also be downloaded directly from the Juno Mission website by cutting and pasting the following link into your browser:-

http://missionjuno.swri.edu/junocam

Alan Clitherow.

 

Added by: Alan Clitherow