NASA’s Juno mission will arrive at Jupiter early in the morning of 5th July 2016. The goal of the Juno mission is to understand the origins and evolution of the giant planet. Jupiter is thought to be the first planet to have formed in our Solar System, but there are many unanswered questions surrounding its formation and structure. Juno will study Jupiter’s gravitational field, inner structure, deep atmospheric composition and magnetic environment, including Jupiter’s spectacular auroras. Juno is led by Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute (San Antonio, Texas), and is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Lockheed Martin Corporation built the spacecraft. Many European scientists and engineers from Italy, France, Belgium, the UK and Denmark are involved in Juno too, and professional and amateur astronomers are taking part in observing campaigns to support the mission. Their roles and contributions are summarised below. For full details of the mission, see NASA’s Juno Jupiter Orbit Insertion press kit.
JIRAM (InfraRed Jovian Auroral Mapper) Instrument
The main aim of the JIRAM instrument is to help understand Jupiter’s magnetosphere and its interaction with the planet, and in particular to study the infrared auroras. JIRAM will also detect thermal (infrared) emission from Jupiter to study properties of the atmosphere, such as the chemical composition and clouds formation. Other goals are to study the cloudiness and the dynamics of the atmosphere. JIRAM is led by the Institute for Astrophysics and Space Planetology (IAPS) of the National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) in Rome. The Principal Investigator (PI) is Alberto Adriani and the Deputy PI is Alessandro Mura. The instrument was funded by the Italian Space Agency and built by Leonardo-Finmeccanica.
Dr Alberto Adriani, JIRAM Principal Investigator, IAPS-INAF, Rome, Italy
Dr Alessandro Mura, JIRAM Deputy PI, IAPS-INAF, Rome, Italy
JIRAM Instrument website
Read an interview with Alberto Adriani (in Italian)
Watch Alberto Adriani explain how JIRAM works
KaT (Ka-Band Translator) Instrument and Gravity Science
The KaTS (Ka-Band Translator System) instrument will allow the acquisition of highly precise velocity measurements for Juno’s Gravity Science experiments. The transponder detects signals sent from NASA’s Deep Space Network on Earth and immediately sends a signal in return. The small changes in the signal’s frequency tell us how much Juno is accelerated by Jupiter’s gravity, therefore revealing its magnitude. Thanks to the KaTS, the velocity of the spacecraft from the ground antenna will be measured as accurately as 0.001 mm/s. Gravity is an essential tool to infer the interior structure of the planet. Among the science goals of the Gravity Team are the determination of the wind depth and the mass of a core made up by heavy elements.
The KaTS was proposed by a team led by Prof Luciano Iess of the University La Sapienza in Rome, who is Co-Investigator on Juno and gravity science coordinator for the Italian Space Agency. The instrument was built by Thales Alenia Space Italy and funded by the Italian Space Agency. Other Italian scientists participating in the gravity experiment are Prof Andrea Milani (University of Pisa) and Prof Paolo Tortora (University of Bologna).
Prof Luciano Iess, Juno Gravity Team Co-Lead, Radio Science Laboratory, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
Radio Science Laboratory, Sapienza University of Rome website
Jupiter’s Auroras and Magnetosphere
The Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie (IRAP, jointly operated by the CNRS and Université Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier) has contributed to the construction of three particle spectrometers for Juno’s JADE experiment, which will help characterise the speed and energy of populations of particles in the electrically charged plasma that fills the Jovian magnetosphere and ultimately produce its strong aurora. The IRAP contribution to the JADE experiment is led by Philippe Louarn, who is a Co-Investigator on the Juno mission. Nicolas André and Vincent Génot will also contribute to the analysis of the Juno/JADE data.
Michel Blanc is a Co-Investigator on the Juno mission and is responsible for the multi-instrument study of the poles of Jupiter’s magnetosphere. In addition to data analysis, he will use Juno data to develop models of interaction between the layers of Jupiters atmosphere and its magnetic environment. He is also an interdisciplinary scientist for the Cassini mission to Saturn, and will develop a comparative study of the polar magnetospheres of Jupiter and Saturn.
Prof Michel Blanc, Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie (jointly operated by the CNRS and Université Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier), Toulouse, France
Dr Philippe Louarn, Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planétologie (jointly operated by the CNRS and Université Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier), Toulouse, France
Tristan Guillot is a Co-Investigator on the Juno mission and is in charge of calculating interior models of Jupiter to determine its structure and composition, based on the new measurements of the planet’s gravity field provided by Juno. He is supported in this work at the Lagrange Laboratory by Yamila Miguel.
Dr Tristan Guillot, Lagrange Laboratory (jointly operated by the CNRS, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur and Université Nice Sophia Antipolis), Nice, France
Dr Yamila Miguel, Lagrange Laboratory (jointly operated by the CNRS, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur and Université Nice Sophia Antipolis), Nice, France
CNRS Journal Article: Juno prête à effeuiller Jupiter
Philippe Zarka is a co-investigator of the Juno mission and collaborates with the Juno Waves instrument. He will be involved in the analysis and modelling of radio observations, with support from Corentin Louis. Together with Baptiste Cecconi and Laurent Lamy, Dr Zarka coordinates JUNO-Ground-Radio, the programme of ground-based radio observations in support of Juno. The radio facilities involved include:
- Nançay Decameter Array (France)
- LOFAR (Poland, Sweden, France)
- UTR-2 (Kharkov, Ukraine)
- Iitate and Fukui observatories (Japan)
- LWA1 (New Mexico, USA)
- RadioJOVE amateur observations (International)
Europlanet 2020 RI’s VESPA virtual observatory, coordinated by the Observatoire de Paris, is providing the infrastructure for obtaining real-time radio observations in suppport of the Juno mission. The radio observations will be complemented by open access ultraviolet images of Jupiter’s auroras obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope.
Dr Philippe Zarka, LESIA (jointly operated by the CNRS, Observatoire de Paris, Université Paris Diderot and UPMC), Meudon, France
Dr Baptiste Cecconi, LESIA (jointly operated by the CNRS, Observatoire de Paris, Université Paris Diderot and UPMC), France
Dr Laurent Lamy, LESIA (jointly operated by the CNRS, Observatoire de Paris, Université Paris Diderot and UPMC), France
Corentin Louis, LESIA (jointly operated by the CNRS, Observatoire de Paris, Université Paris Diderot and UPMC), France
Auroral Planetary Imaging and Spectroscopy (APIS)
Pierre Drossart and Thérèse Encrenaz are using ground-based infrared telescopes to investigate Jupiter’s atmosphere and weather. These observations are part of a ground-based campaign that will put Juno’s close-up observations of the giant planet into context.
Dr Pierre Drossart, LESIA (jointly operated by the CNRS, Observatoire de Paris, Université Paris Diderot and UPMC), Meudon, France
Thérèse Encrenaz, LESIA (jointly operated by the CNRS, Observatoire de Paris, Université Paris Diderot and UPMC), Meudon, France
The Centre Spatial de Liège (CSL) of the Space sciences, Technologies and Astrophysics Research (STAR) Institute at the Université de Liège contributed the scan mirror mechanism for Juno’s Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVS) instrument, which will enable UVS to investigate specific features in Jupiter’s auroras. Benoît Marquet was the project manager for the CSL contribution to UVS.
Denis Grodent and Jean-Claude Gérard are Co-Investigators on the Juno mission and the UVS instrument. Prof Gérard leads the comparison of ultraviolet and infrared imaging and spectroscopy from the UVS and JIRAM instruments. Bertrand Bonfond has also contributed to the planning of UVS observations.
Denis Grodent and the team at Liège (also including Aikaterini Radioti), are leading an international observation programme of 151 HST orbits to monitor Jupiter’s ultraviolet auroras during the one-year life of the Juno mission. The team at Liège has also collaborated on Hubble Space Telescope (HST) observations in support to Juno during the cruise phase, when Juno is still in the solar wind. They will assist with the reduction and analysis of the ultraviolet auroral emissions of Jupiter.
Prof Denis Grodent, Laboratory for Planetary and Atmospheric Physics (LPAP), Space sciences, Technologies and Astrophysics Research (STAR) Institute, Université de Liège, Belgium
Dr Bertrand Bonfond, LPAP, STAR Institute, Université de Liège, Belgium
Prof Jean-Claude Gérard, LPAP, STAR Institute, Université de Liège, Belgium
Dr Aikaterini Radioti, LPAP, STAR Institute, Université de Liège, Belgium
Ir Benoît Marquet, Centre Spatial de Liège (CSL), STAR Institute, Université de Liège, Belgium
Centre Spatial de Liège Juno webpage
Laboratory for Planetary and Atmospheric Physics (LPAP) Juno website
Jupiter’s Magnetic Environment
Stan Cowley is a Co-Investigator on the Juno mission. He will use magnetic field data and theoretical modelling to study interactions between the planet’s magnetosphere and ionosphere, as well as the origins of Jupiter’s auroras. He is supported in this work by Emma Bunce and Gabrielle Provan.
Prof Stan Cowley, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, UK
Prof Emma Bunce, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, UK
Dr Gabrielle Provan, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, UK
Jonathan Nichols, Tom Stallard and Rosie Johnson are using Earth- and space-based facilities (including the Hubble Space Telescope) to explore Jupiter’s beautiful auroras and their interaction with the upper atmosphere.
Dr Jonathan Nichols, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, UK
Dr Tom Stallard, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, UK
Rosie Johnson, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, UK
Jupiter’s Atmosphere and Weather
Leigh Fletcher and Henrik Melin are using ground-based infrared and ultraviolet observations to explore the variability of Jupiter’s climate, and the origin and formation of the giant planet.
Dr Leigh Fletcher, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, UK
Dr Henrik Melin, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, UK
University of Leicester and the Juno Mission website
Leicester to Jupiter: The Juno Mission (Blog)
Professor John Leif Jørgensen and his colleagues in the Measurement and Instrumentation division at DTU Space supplied the star trackers for the Juno mission. The star tracker comprises two main parts: a digital camera that photographs the night sky and a computer that matches the digital images against a stellar map stored in the computer. By comparing images of the dark sky with the stellar map, the star tracker is able to determine the direction in which it is pointing, and hence the orientation of the Juno spacecraft.
Prof John Leif Jørgensen, Technical University of Denmark, Kongens Lyngby, Denmark
DTU stellar navigation webpage
Edited article on DTU’s star trackers from DYNAMO no. 40, DTU’s quarterly magazine in Danish
High-resolution observations obtained by amateur astronomers will allow Juno mission scientists to characterise the state and evolution of Jupiter’s atmosphere over the course of the mission. Amateur astronomers at different locations around the globe are able to observe Jupiter continuously and monitor how events, such as storms or cloud stripes, evolve through the planet’s atmosphere.
Dr Glenn Orton from JPL is responsible for coordinating Juno observations with Earth-based observations of Jupiter’s atmosphere.
Contacts for details of European amateur involvement in the campaign:
Prof Ricardo Hueso Alonso, Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea, Bilbao
Dr Paolo Tanga, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, Nice, France