NASA's Juno spacecraft carries an instrument called the Microwave Radiometer, which examines Jupiter's atmosphere beneath the planet's cloud tops. This image shows the instrument's view of the outer part of Jupiter's atmosphere.

NASA's Juno spacecraft carries an instrument called the Microwave Radiometer, which examines Jupiter's atmosphere beneath the planet's cloud tops. This image shows the instrument's view of the outer part of Jupiter's atmosphere.

Before Juno began using this instrument, scientists expected the atmosphere to be uniform at depths greater than 60 miles (100 kilometers). But with the Microwave Radiometer, scientists have discovered that the atmosphere has variations down to at least 220 miles (350 kilometers), as deep as the instrument can see.

In the cut-out image to the right, orange signifies high ammonia abundance and blue signifies low ammonia abundance. Jupiter appears to have a band around its equator high in ammonia abundance, with a column shown in orange. This is contrary to scientists' expectations that ammonia would be uniformly mixed.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Juno is part of NASA's New Frontiers Program, which is managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages JPL for NASA.

More information about Juno is online at http://www.nasa.gov/juno and http://missionjuno.swri.edu.

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