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- Management Update: Statement from the Director (April 7, 2021)07 Apr, 2021
- Observatorio de Arecibo recibe cartas de apoyo y aliento de estudiantes en la Florida01 Apr, 2021
- Arecibo Observatory Staff Receives Letters of Support and Encouragement from Schoolchildren in Florida01 Apr, 2021
- Reflecting on the Legacy and the Future of the Arecibo Observatory01 Apr, 2021
- Arecibo Hunts Down “Spider” Pulsars24 Mar, 2021
- Education and Public Outreach Highlights (January – March 2021)24 Mar, 2021
- UCF Graduate Course Dives Deep into the Science, Engineering, & Operation of the Arecibo Observatory 24 Mar, 2021
- Preparing for Human Exploration of Mars: Missions to Earth-based Analog Sites 17 Mar, 2021
- Inspiring the Future of Space Exploration 17 Mar, 2021
- New Research on Photocatalysts for Clean Energy and Clean Waters08 Mar, 2021
- CARLA Instrument Container Arrives at Arecibo Observatory03 Mar, 2021
- Arecibo Observatory Contributes to the Exploration of Black Holes Started by this Year’s Nobel Prize Winners in Physics19 Nov, 2020
- UCF Delivers Engineering Options for Arecibo Observatory (AO)16 Nov, 2020
- Management Update (October 12, 2020) by Director Eng. Francisco Cordova13 Oct, 2020
- Summer Student Assists in Development of Newest AO Facility01 Oct, 2020
In the 2030’s, two spacecrafts - NASA’s Europa Clipper and the European Space Agency’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) missions - will enter orbit around Jupiter to study the planet’s largest moons. Until then, observations of the Galilean satellites - named for their discoverer - are restricted to observations from Earth.
Precise knowledge of the moons’ orbits around Jupiter is key. In a recent study published in The Astronomical Journal, scientists used radar observations from the Arecibo Observatory spanning 17 years, from 1999 - 2016, to determine the satellites’ positions and motions over time.
“Arecibo is the only facility that can do these types of observations. You need the world’s most powerful radar system to reach all the way to Jupiter,” explained Dr. Marina Brozovic, a radar scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and lead author of the publication.
“Arecibo is the only facility that can do these types of observations. You need the world’s most powerful radar system to reach all the way to Jupiter,..” - Dr. Marina Brozovic, Radar scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
“We were able to obtain some very high-precision measurements of the line-of-sight positions of the Galilean satellites. Only a spacecraft can do better,” Dr. Brozovic added. The team also obtained the very first radar images of Jupiter’s volcanic moon, Io.
Radar image of Jupiter’s largest moon, Ganymede, obtained at Arecibo Observatory on Jan 31, 2015 with 10.5 km resolution.
The new, precise astrometric measurements of the moons enabled high-precision estimates of their orbits, which were described in the study. Dr. Brozovic elucidated, “We are hoping that this work will lead to a better understanding of the orbital changes that the Galilean satellites experience due to their tidal interaction with Jupiter.”
Among the co-authors of the paper are current AO analyst Ms. Luisa Zambrano-Marin and former AO staff Dr. Michael Nolan, Dr. Patrick Taylor, Dr. James Richardson, and Ms. Linda Rodriguez-Ford.
The Arecibo Planetary Radar Program is funded by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations Program. The Arecibo Observatory is operated by the University of Central Florida (UCF) in partnership with Universidad Ana G. Mendez - Universidad Metropolitana and Yang Enterprises Inc., under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Article written by Dr. Tracy Becker - AO Collaborator / SwRI
Group Lead for Arecibo Planetary Radar
For more information about NASA Planetary Defense program please check out the following links:
Keywords: arecibo, observatory, virkki, NASA, radio , lunar, telescope, radio, telescope, Research, NEO, taylor, Brozovic,Moons ,NASA , Jet, Propulsion, Laboratory, Nolan, Richardson, Rodriguez, Ganymede