Enjoy July 4th Double-Header

Listen 00:05:30

The fourth of July offers out-of-doors celebrants an opportunity to enjoy fireworks at nightfall, and then nature’s pyrotechnics until dawn; In addition to all the summer constellations, Jupiter can be sighted just above the moon on Friday; see how the moon passes by Saturday same time.

– Juno spacecraft performs 35 minutes of Jupiter Orbital Insertion burn today so that it falls into polar orbit around Jupiter.
After 5 years travel, Juno hopes to reveal how much water is in Jupiter and to map the interior(among many other things). Mission there will last only a year because the radiation environment at Jupiter is so toxic, the hardware can’t survive much longer. After three months of orbit ‘sculpting’, Juno’s orbit will be highly elliptical bringing it as close as 3100 miles but as far as 1.2 million miles – an 11-day orbit. At the end of the mission Juno will be intentionally crashed into Jupiter in order to destroy any microbial ‘hitchhikers’ from Planet Earth, preventing them from contaminating any of the Jovian moons where life may possibly have gotten a foothold in the liquid water oceans beneath icy crusts.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal