NASA’s Juno spacecraft, the agency’s flagship mission to Jupiter, continues to stream back an incredible amount of scientific data about the largest planet in our solar system just over four years after arriving in orbit.
Some of the most recent discoveries pertain to lightning in Jupiter’s upper atmosphere, called “shallow lightning,” as well as indications of ammonia laden hail, which has helped scientists explain the ammonia loss in Jupiter’s upper atmosphere that has puzzled them for some time.
NASA’s Juno spacecraft began its journey to the giant of our solar system in August 2011, launching aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fl.
After a five-year journey, the craft entered orbit of Jupiter on 5 July 2016 (UTC) for a multi-year mission to peer into Jupiter’s atmosphere and provide global scientific coverage of the planet.
Lightning in Jupiter’s atmosphere was first observed during the two Voyager flyby missions in 1979, at which point it was believed the lightning was triggered in a similar manner as on Earth, occurring only in storms where water is present in all three of its phases.
Subsequent observations by other flyby crafts and NASA’s in-situ Galileo ...