Friday, July 1, 2016

The Juno spacecraft will rendezvous with Jupiter officially on July 4th, but it has already crossed the planet's magnetosphere.

Jupiter is a huge planet, but its magnetosphere is mind-blowingly massive. It extends out to nearly 5 million kilometers (3 million miles) wide on average, 150 times wider than Jupiter itself and almost 15 times wider than the Sun, making it one of the largest structures in the Solar System. 
“If you were to look up into the night sky and if we could see the outline of Jupiter’s magnetosphere, it would be about the size of the Moon in our sky,” said Jack Connerney, deputy principal investigator and head of the Juno mission magnetometer team. “It’s a very large feature in our Solar System, and it’s a pity we can’t see it.”
NASA announced that Juno has entered Jupiter’s magnetic field. Listen to the video below as the spacecraft gathered data as it crossed the bow shock:

Cool, or a bit creepy, depending on your perspective.  This Juno thing should be quite interesting.  Stay tuned.


  1. We do some pretty interesting things even in our diminished role in space.

    1. We really do.

      Aside: I really like the term and idea of the "Jovian bow shock." Hollywood will have to work that into their next sci/fi space movie.