Available online at www.sciencedirect.


Advances in Space Research 54 (2014) 2441–2445

A flyby anomaly for Juno? Not from standard physics
L. Iorio ⇑
Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Universita` e della Ricerca (M.I.U.R.) – Istruzione, Viale Unita` di Italia 68, 70125 Bari, BA, Italy
Received 15 April 2014; received in revised form 23 May 2014; accepted 19 June 2014
Available online 3 July 2014

An empirical formula recently appeared in the literature to explain the observed anomalies of about Dq_  1  10 mm s1 in the geocentric range-rates q_ of the Galileo, NEAR and Rosetta spacecraft at some of their past perigee passages along unbound, hyperbolic
trajectories.It predicts an anomaly of the order of 6 mm s1 for the recent flyby of Juno, occurred on 9 October 2013.Data analyses
to confirm or disproof it are currently ongoing.We numerically calculate the impact on the geocentric Juno’s range rate of some classical
and general relativistic dynamical effects which are either unmodeled or mismodeled to a certain level in the software used to process the
data.They are: (a) the first even zonal harmonic coefficient J 2 of the multipolar expansion of the terrestrial gravitational potential causing
orbital perturbations both at the ða0 Þ Newtonian (J 2 ) and at the ða00 Þ first post-Newtonian level (J 2 c2 ) (b) the post-Newtonian gravitoelectric (GE) Schwarschild-like component of the Earth’s gravitational field (c) the post-Newtonian gravitomagnetic (GM) Lense–Thirring effect.The magnitudes of their mismodeled and nominal range-rate signatures are:ða0 Þ Dq_ rJ 2  1 lm s1 ða00 ÞDq_ J 2 c2  0:015 lm s1
(b) Dq_ GE  25 lm s1 (c) Dq_ GM  0:05 lm s1. If a flyby anomaly as large as a few mm s1 will be finally found also for Juno, it will not
be due to any of these standard gravitational effects. It turns out that a Rindler-type radial extra-acceleration of the same magnitude as in
the Pioneer anomaly would impact the Juno’s range-rate at a Dq_ Rin  1:5 lm s1 level. Regardless of the quest for the flyby anomaly, all
such effects are undetectable.
Ó 2014 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Experimental studies of gravity; Experimental tests of gravitational theories; Modified theories of gravity; Lunar, planetary, and deep-space

1. Introduction
On 9 October 2013, the NASA’s spacecraft Juno1
(Matousek, 2007) made an Earth flyby passing to within
561 km of our planet at 19 : 21 GMT to gain the required
gravitational energy to reach Jupiter, its final target, in July
2016 Helled et al., 2011.
Such an event raised interest (Clark, 2013; Scuka, 2013;
Anderson et al., 2013; Busack, 2013) because of its potential capability to shed more light on one of the recently
⇑ Tel.: +39 329 2399167.

E-mail address: lorenzo.iorio@libero.it.
See also http://missionjuno.swri.edu/ and http://www.nasa.gov/
mission_pages/juno/ on the Internet.

0273-1177/Ó 2014 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

reported astrometric anomalies in the Solar System
(Anderson and Nieto, 2010): the so-called flyby anomaly
(Anderson et al., 2007; La¨mmerzahl and Dittus, 2008;
Anderson et al., 2008, Nieto and Anderson, 2009;
Turysheva and Toth, 2009). It consists of a small, unexpected increase of the geocentric range-rate
Dq_  1  10 mm s1


experienced by some spacecraft (Galileo, NEAR, Rosetta)
approaching the Earth along unbound, hyperbolic trajectories in occasion of some of their flybys. At present, no satisfactory explanations exist for such a phenomenon in
terms of both conventional gravitational and non-gravitational physics; see, e.g., La¨mmerzahl et al. (2008),
Turysheva and Toth (2009) and references therein. In


L. Iorio / Advances in Space Research 54 (2014) 2441–2445

particular, in Rievers and La¨mmerzahl (2011) it was shown
that the thermal effects which should be responsible for
most of the Pioneer anomaly (Turysheva and Toth, 2010)
could not explain the Rosetta flyby anomaly. Possible
spacecraft electrostatic charging effects in terms of a
Lorentz force were ruled out in Atchison and Peck
(2010). For the-negligible-impact of the general relativistic
gravitomagnetic Lense–Thirring effect on the motion of a
test particle in hyperbolic motion, see Iorio (2009),
Hackmann and Laemmerzahl (2010). Another negative
result in term of the Kerr geometry in the context of Conformal Gravity was recently obtained in Varieschi (2014).
Several more or less sound explanations in terms of nonconventional physics have been put forth so far (Busack,
2007; Nyambuya, 2008; Cahill, 2008; Svozil, 2008; Petry,
2008; Gerrard and Sumner, 2008; Mbelek, 2008; Lewis,
2009; Murad, 2009; Fontana, 2009; Hafele, 2009; Petry,
2009; Busack, 2010; Castro, 2010; Martinis and Perkovic´,
2010; Lassiaille, 2011; Raju, 2011; Hafele, 2011; Petry,
2011; Raju, 2012; Tank, 2012; Pinheiro, 2014; Acedo,
2014) with mixed success. We mention also a proposed
modification of inertia (McCulloch, 2008; McCulloch,
2008), and the effect of Earth-bound Dark Matter (Adler,
2009; Adler, 2009; Adler, 2010; Adler, 2013). Proposals
have been made to test the flyby anomaly with dedicated
future space-based missions (Bertolami et al., 2011;
Bertolami et al., 2012; Pa´ramos and Hechenblaikner,
The opportunity offered by Juno is, in principle, interesting also because of the relatively low altitude of its flyby of
Earth. The expected effect is of the order of Anderson et al.
Dq_ Juno  7 mm s1


The figure in Eq. (2) can be obtained, e.g., by using the
empirical formula devised in Anderson et al. (2008) to
accommodate some of the previously observed flybys of
the other spacecraft. However, it should be recalled that
the formula by Anderson et al. Anderson et al. (2008) gives
wrong (not null) anomaly predictions for the second and
third Rosetta flybys. In waiting for the final outcome of
the ongoing analysis by NASA/JPL of the data collected
by ESA aimed to establish if the flyby anomaly exists also
for Juno or not, in this paper we will quantitatively look
at the effects of some standard Newtonian/Einsteinian gravitational effects on the geocentric range-rate of the Jupitertargeted spacecraft at the epoch of its terrestrial flyby. Some
of them, like the Lense–Thirring effect, recently detected in
the Earth’s gravitational field with a claimed 19% accuracy
(Everitt et al., 2011), are unmodeled in the softwares used to
process the spacecraft’s data, while others are modeled with
a necessarily limited accuracy. Our aim is to calculate the
size of such range-rate signals to see if they are relevant at
It may interesting to note that an anomaly with the same magnitude
but with the opposite sign was predicted in Busack (2013).

a rq_  mm s1 level of accuracy and, in particular, if they
could allow for an effect as large as Eq. (2).
2. Numerical simulations
In order to investigate the impact of some gravitational
effects which, in principle, may induce a flyby anomaly for
Juno, we numerically integrate its equations of motion in
a geocentric reference frame with Cartesian orthogonal
coordinates. For each additional acceleration Apert with
respect to the Newtonian monopole AN , viewed as a small
perturbation of it, we perform two numerical integrations:
one in which the total acceleration is Atot ¼ AN þ Apert ,
and one in which we keep only AN . Both the integrations
share the same initial conditions, retrieved from the HORIZONS WEB interface by NASA/JPL. Then, from the
resulting time series fxpert ðtÞ; y pert ðtÞ; zpert ðtÞg and fxN ðtÞ;
y N ðtÞ; zN ðtÞg for the geocentric coordinates we produce
two time series q_ pert ðtÞ and qN ðtÞ for the range-rate q and
take, their difference to obtain Dq_ which singles out the
expected signature of the effect one is interested in on
the Juno’s range rate. The integration time span is
Dt ¼ 4000 s, starting from the shadow entry, so that the
flyby occurs after 1260 s from t0 ¼ 0.
In Fig. 1 we depicts our results for the following dynamical features. 
The Newtonian effect of the Earth’s oblateness,pparamffiffiffi
eterized by the first even zonal harmonic J 2 ¼  5 C 2;0 ,
where C ‘;m are the normalized Stokes coefficients of
degree ‘ and order m of the geopotential (Heiskanen
and Moritz, 1967). In the left upper corner, its nominal
range-rate shift is depicted. It shows a peak-to-peak
amplitude of a few m s1. Actually, global Earth’s gravity field models are usually adopted in the data reduction softwares, so that one has to look just at the
residual range-rate signature left by the unavoidable
mismodeling in J 2 as a potential cause for a flyby anomaly. By conservatively evaluating rC2;0 as in Iorio (2012)
on the basis of the independent approach recently put
forth in Wagner and McAdoo (2012), we obtained the
signal displayed in the right upper corner of Fig. 1. Its
amplitude is as little as 1 lm s1. 
The first post-Newtonian (1PN) gravitoelectric (GE),
Schwarzschild-like component of the Earth’s field, usually modeled in the data analysis softwares. The left
mid panel shows its nominal range-rate signature, which
amounts to 25 lm s1. 
The first post-Newtonian (1PN) gravitomagnetic (GM),
Lense–Thirring component of the Earth’s field, usually
unmodeled in the data analysis softwares. The peakto-peak amplitude of its signal, shown in the right mid
panel of Fig. 1, is as little as 0:05 lm s1. 
The first post-Newtonian (1PN) aspherical component
of the Earth’s field, proportional to J 2 c2 (Soffel et al.,
1988; Heimberger et al., 1990; Brumberg, 1991), usually
unmodeled in the data analysis softwares. Its effect on

L. Iorio / Advances in Space Research 54 (2014) 2441–2445


Fig. 1. Simulated geocentric range-rate signatures of Juno at the Earth’s flyby induced by various standard and non-standard dynamical effects. The units
are m s1 for the nominal J 2 signal in the upper left corner, while lm s1 are used for all the other effects. For the signal induced by the mismodeling in the
first even zonal harmonic of the geopotential, displayed in the upper right corner, the conservative value rC2;0 ¼ 1:09  1010 (Iorio, 2012), calculated with
the approach in Wagner and McAdoo (2012), is adopted. The Rindler-type curve, placed in the lower right corner, is obtained with the value
ARin ¼ 8:7  1010 m s2.

the Juno’s range-rate, displayed in the left lower corner
of Fig. 1, amounts to 0:015 lm s1. 
A Rindler-type radial acceleration (Grumiller, 2010;
Carloni et al., 2011; Grumiller and Preis, 2011) with
the same magnitude as in the Pioneer anomaly (right
lower corner). As elucidated in Carloni et al. (2011),
Grumiller and Preis, 2011, it may not be applicable to
huge bodies of astronomical size, contrary to man-made
objects such as spacecraft like, e.g., the Pioneer probes.
Indeed for a body of mass mb and size d b , the condition
(Carloni et al., 2011; Grumiller and Preis, 2011)
K jARin jr


must be satisfied. Since3 (Matousek, 2007) mJ ¼ 3625 kg,
d J  9 m, and r ¼ 6894 km at the flyby, Eq. (3) is fully

We take the largest dimension of the solar arrays for d J . 

satisfied for Juno. Indeed, GmJ d 1
m2 s2,
J ¼ 2:7  10 
2 2
while jARin jrJ ¼ 6  10 m s . The magnitude of the
putative Rindler-type effect on the Juno’s range-rate turns
out to be 1:5 lm s1.

It can be noticed that none of the effects considered is able
to impact the Juno’s range-rate at a mm s1 level. Moreover, the smallness of the 1PN signatures which will likely
not be modeled in the data analysis (GM + J 2 c2 ) should
make them practically undetectable. The same holds also
for a Rindler-type acceleration ARin large enough to explain
the Pioneer anomaly. On the one hand, it could not be
independently tested with the Moon’s motion. Indeed,
2 2 
GmM d 1
m2 s2,
M ¼ 2:8  10 m s ; jARin jrM ¼ 3:3  10
so that the condition of Eq. (3) would not be satisfied for
the Moon. On the other hand, ARin could, in principle, certainly affect all the artificial satellites orbiting the Earth
along bound trajectories. For, e.g., LARES, it is


L. Iorio / Advances in Space Research 54 (2014) 2441–2445

(Paolozzi et al., 2011; Paolozzi and Ciufolini, 2013)
mLR ¼ 386:8 kg, d LR ¼ 36:4 cm, and rLR ¼ 7828 km; thus 
GmLR d 1
m2 s2 ; jARin jrLR ¼ 6:8  103 m2 s2,
LR ¼ 7  10
and the condition of Eq. (3) is fully satisfied. From
Renzetti (2013), it turns out that the perigee precession of
LARES is constrained down to rx_ LR ¼ 522 milliarcseconds
per year (mas yr1) level because of unmodeled empirical
accelerations in the along-track direction. This rules out
the possible existence of an anomalous Rindler-type acceleration for the Earth as large as ARin ¼ 8:7  1010 m s2
since it would induce an anomalous perigee precession4for
LARES as large as x_ Rin ¼ 800 mas yr1. From the point of
view of the Juno’s flyby anomaly, an even smaller magnitude of a putative ARin , compatible with the LARES
bound, would be even more insignificant.
3. Conclusions
After its flyby of Earth occurred on 9 October 2013,
analyses of the data collected by ESA have been started
by NASA/JPL to determine if also Juno, now en route to
Jupiter, will exhibit the so-called flyby anomaly which
was detected in some of the past flybys of the Galileo,
NEAR, and Rosetta spacecraft. An empirical formula proposed to explain the anomalies of such probes predicts an
effect as large as about 6 mm s1 for the Juno’s range-rate.
We looked at some dynamical effects which, in principle,
may be considered as viable candidates by numerically calculating their effects on the range-rate of Juno at its flyby of
Earth. The Earth’s quadrupole mass moment J 2 , usually
modeled in the data reduction softwares, nominally shifts
the Juno’s range-rate by a few m s1 at the Newtonian
level; by conservatively assuming an uncertainty in it of
the order of  1010 from the latest global gravity field
models, the resulting residual signal reduces down to about
1 lm s1. The general relativistic Schwarzschild-type component of the Earth’s gravitational field, which is modeled
in the data analyses, causes a nominal range-rate shift of
the order of 25 lm s1. The impact of the unmodeled general relativistic Lense-Thirring and J 2 c2 effects on the
Juno’s range-rate is at the 0:05  0:01 lm s1 level. A putative Rindler-type radial uniform acceleration of the same
magnitude as in the Pioneer anomaly would perturb the
Juno’s range-rate by 1 lm s1.
If a  mm s1 flyby anomaly will finally result also for
Juno, it will not be caused by any of the dynamical effects
considered in this work. In particular, the unmodeled relativistic signatures will be too small to be detectable, regardless of any further consideration on the flyby anomaly as a
sign of new physics.

The pericenter precession caused by a radial uniform extra-acceleration A is Iorio
and ffi Giudice (2006), Sanders (2006), Sereno and Jetzer
(2006) x_ ¼ A 1  e2 n1
b a , where nb ; a; e are the satellite’s mean motion,
semimajor axis, and eccentricity, respectively.

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