As many of us know, Juno spacecraft achieved orbit of Jupiter yesterday (July 4, 2016). Does anyone have an educated guess on approximately when we might see the first optical images from Juno in orbit from NASA? I imagine that they have some testing/calibration of equipment and fine-tuning of the final orbit before seeing the good stuff released to the public.

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    $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of When will Juno send us some pictures? $\endgroup$ Jul 12, 2016 at 20:58
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    $\begingroup$ @MartinSchröder - Rather it's a duplicate of mine which was posted 3 days before the other one :-p. I actually posted my question on SE:Astronomy which completed its "lifecycle" in having an answer accepted etc. The powers that be on SE:A decided just today to migrate it here which, of course, looks like a new question just written here without searching SE:Space Exploration to see if my question had already been asked. I hope I don't get any downvotes because of this. The migration was out of my control. $\endgroup$
    – iMerchant
    Jul 12, 2016 at 21:08
  • $\begingroup$ The migration was actually flagged by me. I found the other question later. $\endgroup$ Jul 12, 2016 at 21:14
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    $\begingroup$ Not a duplicate. Also the other question (which was asked after this one) has been edited to ask about the "tight" orbit (possibly beginning October 20th), which may make it a different question. $\endgroup$
    – Andy
    Jul 13, 2016 at 9:41

3 Answers 3


There's an interesting Planetary Society article about this: What to expect from Junocam

We won't be able to see spectacular views of Jupiter's belts and zones from Jupiter orbit until the very end of August, and it'll be November before we'll see automated release of high-resolution raw images.

August 27 is expected to be a day when photography takes place, however there are no plans to release all of the pictures then. Perhaps selected images will be released to the Press.

October 20 will see another close approach, but no photography is expected as an orbit change burn is the priority.

It seems we will only be getting regular, high quality photographs in November or thereabouts.

Why do the pictures take so long to start being released? Apparently, it's partly due to the spacecraft's limited memory and transmission rate, and a lot of testing work that will be needed before the images can be processed to a high quality. So images taken in August may not be released until November.

  • $\begingroup$ It sucks? damn man, it is pretty cool! I mean, what would we see if all this would be private organisations? Near nothing! I'm really looking forward to that date. And it does much but not suck! $\endgroup$
    – Zaibis
    Aug 6, 2016 at 22:16

It's important to remember that JunoCam is not a primary instrument on this mission. JunoCam's primary reason for being is public outreach. Other instruments take precedence. That its primary reason for being is public outreach and that it isn't a primary instrument is perhaps a blessing in disguise for the public. This means the imagery won't be shrouded in a veil of semi-secrecy until the principal investigators have had a chance to thoroughly investigate the images and publish papers on their findings.

It's also important to remember that Juno is in a highly elliptical orbit, and that JunoCam is designed to work during close approaches. JunoCam is very unlike a modern digital camera. It will not work very well except during close approach. One close approach has already occurred, the July 4/5 orbit insertion. However, the camera, along with all of the other scientific instrumentation, were powered off for that event to avoid problems with power and computer usage. The next close approach (perijove) will not occur until late August. So you'll have to be patient.

  • $\begingroup$ What is it about JunoCam that makes it "...very unlike a modern digital camera", and why will it "...not work very well except during close approach"? Inquiring minds want to know! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jul 13, 2016 at 4:53
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    $\begingroup$ That's a separate question, @uhoh. Ask it! $\endgroup$ Jul 13, 2016 at 9:17
  • $\begingroup$ Done - How is JunoCam different from a normal CCD camera? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jul 13, 2016 at 9:46

They posted a video of the approach a couple days ago. Here it is, where I linked to the time that they show the approach: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpsQimYhNkA&feature=youtu.be&t=32

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    $\begingroup$ I believe that that was the optical navigation camera rather than JunoCam. $\endgroup$ Jul 7, 2016 at 16:06

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