Far Out! Jupiter-Bound Probe Snaps Photo of Big Dipper
Date: 11 May 2012 Time: 12:00 PM ET
|NASA's Jupiter-bound Juno spacecraft snapped this shot of the Big Dipper constellation on March 21, 2012.
A NASA spacecraft on its way to Jupiter has snapped what may be the farthest-flung photo ever of the famed Big Dipper star pattern.
The Juno probe was already beyond the orbit of Mars when it took the photo of the iconic Big Dipper, which is part of the well-known constellation Ursa Major (the Big Bear), to test out its JunoCam instrument on March 21, NASA officials said. NASA released the image on Thursday (May 10).
"I don't know if it's the first space-based image of the Big Dipper but, as it was taken when we were well beyond Mars orbit, it's probably from the farthest out," Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, said in a statement.
The Big Dipper is one of the Northern Hemisphere's best-known celestial landmarks. The seven-star pattern is also known as the "Plough" in England and the "Great Cart" in Germany, NASA officials said. [See Juno probe's Big Dipper photo]
Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
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