Juno will improve our knowledge of Jupiter: New probe will orbit poles

Posted: August 3, 2011 by tallbloke in Astronomy, Astrophysics, Solar physics, solar system dynamics

August 5th is launch day for a new NASA probe; Juno.

Earth Sky has the full story


Juno will achieve mission science goals with a spinning, solar-powered spacecraft that’ll go into a unique polar orbit around Jupiter, one whose perijove – or closest point to Jupiter – is extremely close. From this close vantage point on the largest planet in our solar system, scientists will conduct two key experiments designed to understand Jupiter’s origin. Bolton said that what scientists want to know is how much water lies inside Jupiter, and to get that they’ll measure the abundance of oxygen they find.

Oxygen is the third most abundant element in the universe and in the sun. So it’s a big missing piece if we don’t understand it.

The second experiment will determine whether Jupiter has a core of heavy elements at the center, or whether it’s just gas all the way down. “So Juno’s prepared to constrain those questions and provide the answers so that we can discriminate among models of how Jupiter formed and what the history of our early solar system was,” said Bolton.

Juno will enter the first-ever polar orbit of Jupiter in 2016, when it will probe what’s beneath its thick clouds from a closer distance than any previous spacecraft. Bolton explains:

We’re only 5,000 kilometers above the cloud tops. And so we’re skimming right over those cloud tops, and we’re actually dipping down beneath the radiation belts, which is a very important thing for us. Those radiation belts of Jupiter are the most hazardous region in the entire solar system other than going right to the sun itself. And we have a vault in the middle to hold our electronics to protect them from these high energy particles. We’re basically an armored tank going to Jupiter.

Workers place the special radiation vault for NASA's Juno spacecraft onto the propulsion module.

  1. Tenuc says:

    Seems daft taking such an expensive bit of kit over the poles of a planet with such a massive charge field (you can’t shield against this)!!!

    Prediction – if a major solar storm occurs while the satellite is over one of Jupiter’s poles the instrument pack and control system will be destroyed. Lets hope they get some useful info before this happens.

  2. bill says:

    maybe outside the ball park again – but- could we power the sunspot cycle with cosmic debris (anti-correlated with solar wind) and likely entering the sun via the polar areas. This would give an “automatic” magnetic “reversal”. The rate of equatorial movement of spot latitude dependent on planetary influence (torsion?). The cycle strength dependent on previous solar wind. (the “jump” out of minimums) and etc.

    Jupiter, having to contend with the fluctuations of the cosmic debris requisitioned by the sun, is probably “overpowered”. Like running an engine at full choke.

  3. Tenuc says:

    bill says:
    August 3, 2011 at 4:23 pm
    “Maybe outside the ball park again – but- could we power the sunspot cycle with cosmic debris (anti-correlated with solar wind)…”

    Not sure about cosmic debris, but wouldn’t rule anything out as little is known about how the solar system is effected by the rest of the universe. My own guess would be it is changes to the interaction of the charge field between Jupiter, Saturn and the sun modulated by variations to the density of the field coming from the galactic centre.

    Here are few charts courtesy courtesy of JimP from the Baut forum, which show the linkage, but not the mechanism involved.

    I’m hoping the Juno data will give us a few pointers to what’s really going on.

  4. Brian H says:

    I can see the headlines now: “Jupiter causes ice ages!” Or maybe not. 😉

  5. tallbloke says:

    Tenuc, interesting graphs.

    Leif says this about the top one:

    “And the analysis you have chanced upon is seriously flawed. To ‘get real’ one must perform a real analysis, like this one: http://www.leif.org/research/Jupiter-Distance-Monthly-Sunspot-Number.png

    It shows first the distance as a function of the sunspot number for every month since 1749. You can see immediately by eye that there is no correlation. Instead you see a concentration [for all sunspot numbers] towards the bottom [smallest distance] and the top [largest distance]. This is purely a selection effect from the fact that there are many more months near the smallest and largest distance than at the average distance 5.2 AU, so you get many more monthly values [data points] of the sunspot number around perihelion and aphelion. This is because the distance changes less when Jupiter rounds the two ‘blunt’ ends of the orbit than at other times. There is another effect: as Jupiter moves more slowly at aphelion, the distribution will be ‘top heavy’, as you can clearly see on the graph. Finally, almost all the very high values of the sunspot number [in the oval] occurred at the maximum of solar cycle 19, so these points are not independent. The plot also shows the distribution for every bin of 10 sunspot numbers. The first one from 0 to 10, the next from 10 to 20, and so on. For every bin, you can see that there is no correlation. You can even now and then see the expected ‘top heaviness’.
    So, there is nothing ‘real’ there. Don’t fall for any old correlation that you stumble upon. Confirmation bias is strong here.”

    I have to admit I think he’s right about this. Variation in Jupiter’s distance Distance doesn’t affect the sunspot number. I think it has more to do with timing of the cycle than amplitude.

    Her’s my response:

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 3, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    And the analysis you have chanced upon is seriously flawed. To ‘get real’ one must perform a real analysis, like this one: http://www.leif.org/research/Jupiter-Distance-Monthly-Sunspot-Number.png Confirmation bias is strong here.

    First of all, thanks for taking the time to so the analysis. You are right about this, and if I’d thought about it more before posting I’d have realised that the effect on barycentric distance of the eccentricity of Jupiters orbit is small compared to the effect of the Jupiter-Saturn synodic cycle. I admit the confirmation bias, someone posted the graph on my blog last night and I threw it into this discussion without enough consideration. I’ve posted your excellent analysis and comment there in full.

    Thanks again for sitting back and taking a while before replying, I really get a lot out of our discussions when they happen at a more leisurely and considered pace.

  6. bill says:

    Jupiter radiates more energy than it receives. I see no evidence that Jupiter has enough energy to split a water molecule and blow off the H and Ionize the O – like the sun – so I think they will find some liquid on Jupiter’s surface. Things will get real interesting if they don’t.

    As to Jupiter’s “mass” of muscle – here is a link to a “power wave” http://www.landscheidt.wordpress.com/

    Bill Howell did a lot of comparing of the works of people such as Niroma and Charvatova

    Search words – [pdf] Howell document – gets one of the works.

    Of interest on the Sun is the anti correlation between results when using the FE (split?) darkness factor as opposed to using the green spectrum darkness factor in arriving at DSN . Maybe the sun has more than one level of activity and/or magnetization.

  7. Tenuc says:

    Hi Rog, thanks for getting Leif’s view on the graph and for showing us his sunspot distribution vv Jupiter distance. I find it odd that he didn’t get the same correlation as JimP, and here’s XY chart from Jim which shows the same linkage from another perspective.

    Timo Niroma also shows a similar correlation using a different method…

    Leif’s chart appears to cover only the last 25y, but JimP and Timo use much longer periods, which should be more statistically significant (Jim uses 1749 to the present, Timo uses 1769 – 1999).

    Very strange???

  8. tallbloke says:

    Hi Tenuc, Leifs chart covers all months from 1749. The x axis is monthly sunspot number, not months.
    I’l have a think about the second graph from Jim P

  9. tallbloke says:

    tallbloke says:
    August 4, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    August 4, 2011 at 7:55 am
    tallbloke says:
    August 4, 2011 at 7:16 am
    Hi Leif, further investigation reveals another graph from the same source, which on the face of it, doesn’t seem to be so easily explained. http://www.bnhclub.org/JimP/jp/xyss.JPG

    Same thing: http://www.leif.org/research/Jupiter-Distance-Monthly-Sunspot-Number2.png

    Note the clustering of points at both aphelion and perihelion. If you ignore that and calculate a correlation anyway R^2 is 0.0262, i.e. not significant

    The curious thing is the period over which the sunspot number is averaged, 7.5 months. I’ll explain the oddity when you’ve given me an opinion.

    As there is no correlation, the oddity is not of interest.

    Hmmmm, I need to give this some thought. Thanks for the quick response, I’ll take a timeout to have a think on this. It seems odd that such a good correlation appears when the data is averaged at that timescale of 7.5 months. I think I might know why though, and it’s to do with interaction between Jupiter and another planet.

    Thanks as always for your time.

  10. tallbloke says:

    Tenuc, thanks for digging out those graphs. I’ve chatted via PM with Jim on BAUT about *stuff* before, but had forgotten all about those graphs, which I last saw…. ages ago.

    I think there might be something exciting lurking in there. I’ll chew on it.

  11. Tenuc says:

    Hi Rog; thinking Venus???

  12. tallbloke says:

    Not principally

  13. tchannon says:

    Any major effect would be long known.

  14. bill says:

    if you “wrap” Timo’s graph as he proposed – and then re-open it 180 degrees from its presentation, it would about match Leif”s? Timo may have presented it as shown because of his assertion of Jupiter’s effect.

  15. Tenuc says:

    JimP used a 7.5 month average = 227 days
    Venus orbital period = 225 days – coincidence?

    Solar transits of Venus occur in a pattern that repeats every 243 years, with pairs of transits eight years apart. This periodicity is a reflection of the orbital periods of Earth and Venus which is very close to 8:13 (243:395 resonances).

    The last pair of Earth/Venus transits were in Dec 1874 and Dec 1882. The first of the most recent pair of transits of Venus took place on 8 June 2004 and the next will be on 6 June 2012. After this transits of Venus will happen Dec 2117 and Dec 2125.

    It is interesting that 8:13 is a phi musical ratio known as the sacred ratio or the ratio of love – there is an unusual connection there back to Venus, the goddess of love.and beauty.

  16. tallbloke says:

    Hi Tenuc, yep, I made the golden ratio connection myself. But before we get excited, review the original thread JimP’s graph appeared in:

  17. Tenuc says:

    Thanks for the link to a great thread with several names I’ve come across before in other places! Shame it is old and dead. I found this bit from Ray interesting…
    “If you do a Fourier analysis of the Sunspot numbers you will find that in addition to the 11.1 year period there are two other peaks. One is at around 11.8 to 12.0 years and so is consistent with Jupiter’s period of 11.86 years and is entirely consistent with your finding. The other is around 9.9 years, very close to the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction period. Incidentally, the 11.1 year period is close to the Jupiter-Venus-Earth syzygy period of 11.07 years.

    In trying to understand this, one may note that Jupiter and Saturn are the two most massive planets in the solar system, and that Jupiter, Venus and Earth are the three planets with the strongest tidal effect on the Sun…”

    More food for thought.

  18. tallbloke says:

    Tenuc, yes. And newer and more sophisticated analysis finds th periods are close to 10, 10.8 and 11.8 years, (see Bart’s thread). The 10.8 value is close to the value Ray found worked along with his z-axis hypothesis to obtain a R^2=0.66 correlation over the whole period of the sunspot record.

    Another interesting pop up fact from a paper linked on that thread is that the ratio of jupiter and Saturns orbital distance (0.545) also relates to those values. If you multiply it by the synodic period (19.86 years) out pops the 10.8 year figure. This is important, because it proves that the 10.8 figure is a product of J-S and confirms the primacy of the periods Bart has determined, of which 10.8 years is a ‘sideband’ result, rather then Leif’s claim that 10.8 years is inherent to the Solar dynamo and generates the other values in concert with a long period oscillation (121 years).

    Pending Bart’s confirmation, it looks like we’ve nailed it. 🙂

  19. Zeke the Sneak says:

    If NASA are looking for water, you have to watch them very closely because if they detect OH they announce they have a water source, as from comets. But as has been pointed out on holoscience, the OH radical could also be an oxygen source combining with hydrogen protons from the solar wind.

    Comment: Most of the volatiles detected in cometary comas are formed not by solar heating but by electrical ‘cathode sputtering’ of the high-temperature minerals on the comet surface. The evidence for this comes from the ‘puzzling’ abundance (densities at least 100 times greater than expected) of negative ions near the nucleus. The negative ions combine with the positive hydrogen ions from the solar wind to give, amongst other things, the OH radical, which is then misinterpreted as signaling the presence of water ice on the comet. That is why all other means of detecting significant water ice on comets have generally failed.

  20. Zeke the Sneak says:

    It’s a mission bound to succeed against all odds and to exceed all expectations, as it is launched on a date of such cosmologic significance. You all raise a toast to the Juno Mission and me tonight 😀

  21. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Zeke the Sneak says:
    August 5, 2011 at 6:20 pm
    However the reaction of charges, the dance of loving partners goes on, and at last we have water or….whatever you can imagine.

  22. adolfogiurfa says:

    Talking about Juno and current issues: Nikolai Dmitriyevich Kondratiev (also Nikolay Kondratev or Kondratieff; Russian: Николай Дмитриевич Кондратьев) (March 4, 1892 – 1938) was a Soviet economist. He proposed a theory that Western capitalist economies have long term cycles (approximately 50 years) of boom followed by depression. Although Kondratiev himself was imprisoned and executed during the Great Purges of Joseph Stalin, his work was published, translated, and became well-known in the field of economics.
    Then…Jupiter drives Wall Street!

  23. Brian H says:

    An OH radical is one more proton short of being H2O. So if you can generate OH with solar proton flux from O, you can also generate H2O.

  24. tallbloke says:

    Does that mean water could be arriving from the interplanetary soup, and departing too as water vapour gets split by electolysis??

  25. I think it just means there are other ways of interpretting some of NASA’s data and pronouncements. It is entirely possible that comets are not made of dirty snow and are rather charged rocky bodies moving in the sun’s electrical environment.

    Water and Jupiter is another question they say they want to observe. The planet does emit oxygen ions plentifully into its magnetosphere. But finding hydroxyl could be interaction of these ions with the solar wind. I have no idea and will love being along for the discovery.

    For me this is the dream mission to Jupiter, if it can withstand the polar environments. It has been reported that there are streams of accelerated electrons from the poles of both Saturn and Jupiter, and also earth, which go toward the sun. However, these are described as “anti-planetward” streams of particles. I would like some real, specific answers about the auroras, and wheter these electrons are streaming to the sun. This would verify that the sun is a positively charged anode relative to the heliopause and the planets. And I think it would be of some interest to everyone here because it would potentially give insight into the modulatory action of the planets on solar activity. (It could be very similar to the ways that Io and other moons modulate the polar auroras of Jupiter.)

  26. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Zeke: It´s really amusing such theories about “Ice-cream” comets and Professor Fred Flintstone´s´”pebbles universe”, the more entangled and incomprehensible they are, the more “cool” and self-indulging. It´s a hard endeavour to get rid ourselves from such complicated sights of the universe.
    The trouble is that these “cool” truths are associated with power, money and with our position in a extremely competitive social environment: “Cheat and Succeed” seems to be the moto for our existence and survival or , worse, “just believe and follow the money”. It all began with a big cheat: E=mc2…wow! what a beautiful equation!, however it´s impossible for the velocity of light to be: 9.00E+10 km/sec
    We should turn, then, to traditional, and sane, and simple, science: “As Above so Below” as said Hermes Trismegistus…..Now, that success and money are taking its due curse: merciless entropy
    and, consequently, it will no longer be able to support those “cool” principles. (They´ve been downgraded too!)

  27. tallbloke says:

    “(It could be very similar to the ways that Io and other moons modulate the polar auroras of Jupiter.)”

    Now that would be worth a post in its own right Zeke, wanna do a guestie?

  28. @tallbloke, I would enjoy that very much. I have contacted the right professors for assistance in the direction of these “anti-planetward” electrons. I have three excellent sources which indicate a sunward direction, and of course Dr S insisting they could only be escaping down the magnetotail. Very high energies involved here.

  29. tallbloke says:

    Excellent, I’ll look forward to publishing it here on the talkshop. Thanks for rising to the task. 🙂

  30. Sugel says:

    This animation shows how Jupiter will appear to the camera onboard NASAs Juno mission called JunoCam as the spacecraft goes through an orbit.