NASA's Juno Spacecraft Snaps Photo of Earth on Way to Jupiter
Published: October 23, 2013
The Juno space probe caught this image of Earth during a flyby on Oct. 9, 2013. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems)
When NASA's Jupiter-bound Juno spacecraft zipped around Earth earlier this month, it peered back at our planet for a photo op.
The $1.1 billion Juno mission, which launched in 2011, is taking a long circuitous route to the largest planet in our solar system. The space probe's flyby of Earth on Oct. 9 was intended to give it a speed boost from our planet's gravity and put it on the correct path toward Jupiter.
The 8,000-pound (3,267 kilograms) solar-powered spacecraft will arrive in Jupiter's orbit on July 4, 2016, and for a full Earth-year, it will study the gas giant's atmosphere, gravitational field and magnetic field. Scientists hope the probe's observations will shed light on long-standing mysteries about Jupiter's composition, including whether or not the gas planet has a solid core.
Juno launched into space on Aug. 5, 2011 on an Atlas 551 rocket that lifted off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The spacecraft only had enough energy and speed to reach the asteroid belt, but Juno's Oct. 9 gravity assist from Earth accelerated Juno from a speed of 78,000 mph (126,000 km/h) with respect to the sun to a speed of 87,000 mph (140,000 km/h). Officials at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, released a video of the Juno probe's Earth flyby to describe how this gravity boost works.
In its closest approach, Juno came within 350 miles (560 kilometers) of Earth on Oct. 9 at 3:21 p.m. EDT (1921 GMT). Shortly after the flyby, Juno encountered a mysterious glitch and entered safe mode, but the probe has since resumed normal operations, according to mission officials at the Southwest Research Institute.
In 2013 the official NHC forecast for Atlantic storms was better than any individual computer models at most forecast time periods, although NOAA's HWRF model did slightly better than the NHC official forecast for 5-day forecasts. Once again, the European Center (ECMWF) and GFS models were the top performers, when summing up all track forecasts made for all Atlantic named storms.
July was the 4th warmest such since 1880 according to NOAA and the 11th warmest according to NASA data (the difference in assessments is due to several factors which I’ll discuss in a future blog). It was unusually cool in the central portion of the U.S. while record warmth was observed in parts of the U.S. Northwest, Scandinavia and the Baltic nations. Several powerful typhoons made landfall in East Asia and Hurricane Arthur took a swipe at North Carolina.
This is a live blog set up to provide the latest coverage on Hurricane Arthur as it threatens the North Carolina Coast. Check back often to see what the latest is with Arthur. The most recent updates are at the top.
Here is some basic, fundamental terminology related to tropical cyclones. Rather than a comprehensive and/or technical glossary, this represents the essence of the meaning & importance of some key, frequently used terms.
Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.