AstroTalk Episode June 30, 2016

Jupiter and Pluto

3:18pm - 3:51pm

Pluto keeps revealing more of its secrets. Pluto's Sputnik Planum, a nitrogen ice plane on the surface of Pluto, is a topic today. The New Horizons Spacecraft, which zipped past Pluto in July 2015, has sent back data that shows Pluto's icy nitrogen surface has some smooth areas, but also some rough and ridgey areas. Sunlight is reflected in different ways on this diverse ice surface, and the surface seems to be quite dynamic, as it constantly changes shape and form. The Juno mission to Jupiter has now entered the Jovian system. Juno left the solar wind imbedded reach of the Sun, and is now in the upper reaches of Jupiter's magnetosphere. Listen in as we track the progress of Juno, as it moves closer into toward Jupiter. The Juno spacecraft launched from Cape Canaveral Florida on August 11, 2011, entered Jupiter's magnetosphere on June 24, 2016, and is expected to go into orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016, and begin sampling the lower reaches of Jupiter's magnetosphere on July 25. The upper reaches of Jupiter's magnetosphere, or bow shock, has proven to be incredibly complex, as scientists are now pouring pour over data that was sent back to them, beginning June 24.