Time-lapse Sequence of Jupiter’s South Pole

NASA – JUNO Mission logo.

February 23, 2018

This series of images captures cloud patterns near Jupiter’s south pole, looking up towards the planet’s equator.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft took the color-enhanced time-lapse sequence of images during its eleventh close flyby of the gas giant planet on Feb. 7 between 7:21 a.m. and 8:01 a.m. PST (10:21 a.m. and 11:01 a.m. EST). At the time, the spacecraft was between 85,292 to 124,856 miles (137,264 to 200,937 kilometers) from the tops of the clouds of the planet with the images centered on latitudes from 84.1 to 75.5 degrees south.

At first glance, the series might appear to be the same image repeated. But closer inspection reveals slight changes, which are most easily noticed by comparing the far left image with the far right image.

Directly, the images show Jupiter. But, through slight variations in the images, they indirectly capture the motion of the Juno spacecraft itself, once again swinging around a giant planet hundreds of millions of miles from Earth.

Citizen scientist Gerald Eichstädt processed this image using data from the JunoCam imager.

JunoCam’s raw images are available at http://www.missionjuno.swri.edu/junocam for the public to peruse and process into image products.

More information about Juno is online at http://www.nasa.gov/juno and http://missionjuno.swri.edu.

Juno spacecraft orbiting Jupiter

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Juno is part of NASA’s New Frontiers Program, which is managed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages JPL for NASA.

Image, Animation, Text, Credits: NASA/Gerald Eichstädt.

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Swarm trio becomes a quartet

ESA – SWARM Mission logo.

February 23, 2018

With the aim of making the best possible use of existing satellites, ESA and Canada have made a deal that turns Swarm into a four-satellite mission to shed even more light on space weather and features such as the aurora borealis.

In orbit since 2013, ESA’s three identical Swarm satellites have been returning a wealth of information about how our magnetic field is generated and how it protects us from dangerous electrically charged atomic particles in the solar wind.

Aurora from above

Canada’s Cassiope satellite carries three instrument packages, one of which is e-POP.  It delivers information on space weather which complements that provided by Swarm. Therefore, the mission teams began looking into how they could work together to make the most of the two missions.

To make life easier, it also just so happens that Cassiope’s orbit is ideal to improve Swarm’s readings.

And now, thanks to this international cooperation and formalised through ESA’s Third Party Mission programme, e-POP has effectively become a fourth element of the Swarm mission. It joins Swarm’s Alpha, Bravo and Charlie satellites as Echo.

Josef Aschbacher, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, noted, “This is a textbook example of how virtual constellations and collaborative initiatives can be realised, even deep into the missions’ exploitation phases.

“We embrace the opportunity to include e-POP in the Swarm mission, especially because it is clear that the more data we get, the better the picture we have of complex space weather dynamics.

Cassiope carries e-POP

“ESA is looking forward to seeing the fruits of this collaboration and the improved return on investment for both Europe and Canada.”

Andrew Yau from the University of Calgary added, “Swarm and e-POP have several unique measurement capabilities that are highly complementary.

“By integrating e-POP into the Swarm constellation, the international scientific community will be able to pursue a host of new scientific investigations into magnetosphere–ionosphere coupling, including Earth’s magnetic field and related current systems, upper-atmospheric dynamics and aurora dynamics.”

Birkeland currents

John Manuel from the Canadian Space Agency noted, “We are pleased to see e-POP join ESA’s three Swarm satellites in their quest to unravel the mysteries of Earth’s magnetic field.

“Together, they will further improve our understanding of Earth’s magnetic field and role it plays in shielding Canada and the world from the effects of space weather.”

Giuseppe Ottavianelli, Third-Party Mission Manager at ESA concluded, “I am pleased that the e-POP ensemble is now formally integrated into our Swarm constellation.

The force that protects our planet

“This milestone achievement confirms the essential role of ESA’s Earthnet programme, enabling synergies across missions, fostering international cooperation, and supporting data access.”

While e-POP changes its name to Echo as part of the Swarm mission, it will also continue to provide information for its original science investigations.

Related links:

Swarm: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/Swarm

Swarm technical info & data: https://earth.esa.int/web/guest/missions/esa-operational-eo-missions/swarm

CASSIOPE: https://epop.phys.ucalgary.ca/cassiope/

e-POP: https://epop.phys.ucalgary.ca/

University of Calgary: http://www.ucalgary.ca/

Canadian Space Agency: http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/

ESA Third Party Missions: https://earth.esa.int/web/guest/missions/3rd-party-missions/overview

Images, Videos, Text, Credits: ESA/AOES Medialab/Canadian Space Agency/University of Calgary.

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