NASA’s Juno orbiter successfully made its eleventh flyby of Jupiter on February 7, 2018.
Juno launched on August 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and arrived in orbit around the giant planet Jupiter on July 4, 2016.
The robotic spacecraft is in a polar orbit around the gas giant, and the majority of each orbit is spent well away from the planet.
But, once every 53 days, its trajectory approaches Jupiter from above its north pole, where it begins a 2-hr transit — from pole to pole — flying north to south.
During these flybys, Juno is probing beneath the obscuring cloud cover of the planet and studying its auroras to learn more about its origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.
On February 7, 2018, the probe successfully made its eleventh close flyby of Jupiter.
At the time of perijove (the point in Juno’s orbit when it is closest to the planet’s center), the spacecraft will be about 2,100 miles (3,500 km) above Jupiter’s cloud tops.
The closest approach was at 9:36 a.m. EST (6:36 a.m. PST) Earth-received time.
According to NASA, the flyby was also a gravity science orientation pass.
During orbits that highlight gravity experiments, Juno is in an Earth-pointed orientation that allows both the X-band and Ka-Band transmitter to downlink data in real-time to one of the antennas of NASA’s Deep Space Network in Goldstone, California.
All of Juno’s science instruments and its JunoCam were in operation during the flyby, collecting data that are now being returned to Earth.
Source: Sci News