Gemini telescope aids Juno’s mission through Jupiter

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San Francisco: Researchers are using very detailed Gemini Observatory images to help guide the Juno spacecraft’s exploration of Jupiter, a media report said.

The high-resolution imaging by the Gemini North telescope on Maunakea in Hawaii was informing the Juno mission of compelling events in Jupiter’s atmosphere, Xinhua news agency reported.

“These observations trace vertical flows that cannot be measured any other way, illuminating the weather, climate and general circulation in Jupiter’s atmosphere,” Michael Wong of the University of California, Berkeley, said.

The scientists were using a longer-wavelength filter on the telescope to look at cloud opacity on the giant planet.

Being supported by Earth-based observations, according to a news release from UC Berkeley on Saturday, the Juno spacecraft, of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), was currently looping around Jupiter.

Using adaptive optics that removes atmospheric blur, astronomers at the Gemini North telescope were revealing “a treasure-trove of fascinating events in Jupiter’s atmosphere,” said Glenn Orton, the principal investigator for this Gemini adaptive optics investigation and coordinator for Earth-based observations supporting the Juno project at Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The observations have produced a composite colour infrared image of Jupiter showing haze particles over a range of altitudes.

“Events like this show that there’s still much to learn about Jupiter’s atmosphere,” Orton was quoted as saying. “The combination of Earth-based and spacecraft observations is a powerful one-two punch in exploring Jupiter.”

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