Image of the Day:
NASA’s Juno spacecraft snapped this portrait of Earth on Oct. 9, 2013 as it used the home planet to gain some gravitational energy and slingshot itself toward Jupiter. I thought it would be a terrific image to finish the year with here at ImaGeo.
On its way past Earth, Juno received a boost in speed of more than 8,800 miles per hour (3.9 kilometers per second). But before the spacecraft bid adieu, South America posed for the JunoCam.
Juno will reach Jupiter in July, 2016 and will circle the giant gaseous planet for a year, snapping photographs and taking a variety of measurements. Here’s a summary from NASA of what Juno is designed to do:
- Determine how much water is in Jupiter’s atmosphere, which helps determine which planet formation theory is correct (or if new theories are needed)
- Look deep into Jupiter’s atmosphere to measure composition, temperature, cloud motions and other properties
- Map Jupiter’s magnetic and gravity fields, revealing the planet’s deep structure
- Explore and study Jupiter’s magnetosphere near the planet’s poles, especially the auroras – Jupiter’s northern and southern lights – providing new insights about how the planet’s enormous magnetic force field affects its atmosphere.
With this beautiful image of our home planet, let me wish everyone a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!
— Tom Yulsman