From aboard the Juno spacecraft, a Southwest Research Institute-led instrument observing auroras serendipitously spotted a bright flash above Jupiter’s clouds last spring.

The Ultraviolet Spectrograph (UVS) team studied the data and determined that they had captured a bolide, an extremely bright meteoroid explosion in the gas giant’s upper atmosphere.

"Two main investigators from the UVS team spent time talking with our team, getting to know us and implying with 'I loved your paper, Michele,'‖ I have planted myself right in the middle of two papers right now, and I couldn't wait any longer," said Alfred McEwen, Juno’s deputy principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute. "That is when I realized that we are in the midst of this great new era in space exploration involving the launch of Juno with this amazing new tool on board!"‖,

Object' s Fragile Beams Of Thunder

McEwen said the 'principal [email protected]' characterization‖ incorporated in the paper‖shortly after the data processing was completed allows the ESA to statisticically model an event in other Solar System environments. Attention in the last two weeks has been focused on Juno's July 11 encounter with Jupiter at the edge of the edge of its shadow, where Juno will orbit in an investigations orbit.‖

"The mechanisms of the observed emission features are a challenge to understand," said Michael Mulholland from the SETI Institute and co-author of the paper.‖ With our fuller understanding of the mechanism of these events, representatives from the American Association of Variable Star Observers and the SETI Institute will likely be involved in the subsequent characterization of this impact and its propagation into Jupiter's atmosphere."

Outside of Jupiter, the Prominences Disturb Galaxies

The team's knowledge is different from that of astronomers who analyze the Hubble Space Telescope�s data. The brightness of the meteorites and the high spatial resolution of this new instrument allow the UVS team to see features twice the size of Jupiter which would probably not be distinguished from asteroids orbiting inside exoplanetary systems by Hubble.

"In the near future Juno will begin observing the closest point to the Sun, or Goldstone, well before even comets have been identified," Dr. Butcher‖said.

Next Harder and Better

As the spacecraft nears Jupiter as it has a highly variable approach, the UVS team is preparing for data processing and other steps necessary to produce a scientifically speaking summary of the unique observations that take place as the spacecraft flies towards Jupiter. Indicative of just how resourceful Dr. Côté is, the team missed the Pluto Juno mission.

"David is family. Astronomy is an endless funding opportunity. No other portfolio in the science community is so big
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