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JUPITER

Juno, eyes on Brown Barge

New image by Juno spacecraft captures a long, brown oval known as a "brown barge" in Jupiter's South Equatorial Belt

A long, brown oval known as a "brown barge" in Jupiter's South Equatorial Belt is captured in this color-enhanced image from  Juno spacecraft.

 

Brown barges are cyclonic regions that usually lie within Jupiter's dark North Equatorial Belt, although they are sometimes found in the similarly dark South Equatorial Belt as well. They can often be difficult to detect visually because their color blends in with the dark surroundings. At other times, as with this image, the dark belt material recedes, creating a lighter-colored background against which the brown barge is more conspicuous. Brown barges usually dissipate after the entire cloud belt undergoes an upheaval and reorganizes itself. Juno is giving us the first glimpses of the detailed structure within such a barge.

 

This image was taken at 6:26 p.m. PDT on Sept. 6, 9:26 p.m. EDT as the spacecraft performed its 15th close flyby of Jupiter. At the time, Juno was 11,950 kilometers from the planet's cloud tops, above a southern latitude of approximately 22 degrees.

 

Citizen scientist Kevin M. Gill created this image using data from the spacecraft's JunoCam imager. The image has been rotated 90 degrees to the right from the original image.

 

JUNO's goal is to analyse the Jupiter’s characteristics as representative of the giant planets. The Solar System’s ‘heavyweight’ can, in fact, offer fundamentally important data not only for gaining deeper knowledge of the origin of the System itself, but also for analysing those of the planetary systems that are gradually discovered around other stars, with particular reference to those exoplanets that have a similar mass to that of Jupiter. JUNO's heart is the Italian JIRAM (Jovian InfraRed Auroral Mapper), financed by ASI, built by Leonardo-Finmeccanica and operated under the scientific responsibility of INAF's Institute of Astrophysics and Planetology (IAPS).  JUNO's other Italian component is KaT (Ka-Band Translator), a radio science instrument designed by the 'La Sapienza' University of Rome, built by Thales Alenia Space Italia (A Thales/Leonardo-Finmeccanica company) again with ASI's support.