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Home / Science / "Explosive" –June Flyby captures new images of Io: the volcanic epicenter of the solar system

"Explosive" –June Flyby captures new images of Io: the volcanic epicenter of the solar system



Posted on January 2, 2019

  Jupiter's Moon Io

"We knew we would break new ground with a multispectral campaign to see Io's polar region, but no one expected us to do so. Get out We're so lucky to see an active volcanic storm shoot material from the Moon's surface, "said Scott Bolton, chief investigator of the Juno Mission and associate vice president of the Southwest Research Institute's Space Science and Engineering Division. "This is a New Year's gift that shows us that Juno has the ability to see feathers clearly."

A team of space researchers captured new images of a volcanic lava plume on Jupiter's moon Io during Juno 17. Flyby of the gas giant's mission. During the winter solstice on December 21, four Juno cameras captured images of the Jovian Moon Io, the most volcanic body in our solar system.

JunoCam, the Stellar Reference Unit (SRU), the Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM), and the Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVS) watched Io for over an hour, providing insight into the polar regions of the Moon and an active eruption.

JunoCam received the first pictures at 12:00 pm on December 21: 15:00 and 12:20 coordinated World Time (UTC) before Io entered Jupiter's shadow. The pictures show the moon half-lit with a bright dot that can be seen directly behind the terminator, the day-night boundary.

"The ground is already in the shade, but the height of the cloud makes the sunlight reflect like the moon. So, after sunset, there are still mountains or clouds lit on the earth," explains Candice Hansen-Koharcheck, the JunoCam management of the Planetary Science Institute.

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At 12:40 UTC, after Io invaded the darkness of the total eclipse behind Jupiter, the sunlight reflected from the nearby moon of Europe helped Io and its cloud. SRRI images published by SwRI show Io softly illuminated by moonlight from Europe. The brightest feature on Io in the picture is probably a pervasive radiation signature reminiscent of the role of this satellite in supplying Jupiter's radiation belts, while other features show the glow of the activity of several volcanoes. "As a low-light camera designed to track the stars, the SRU can only observe Io in very dimly lit conditions. December 21 gave us a unique opportunity to observe the volcanic activity of Io with the SRU, using only Europe's moonlight as a light bulb, "said Heidi Becker, director of Juno's Radiation Monitoring Investigation at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory [19659010] "Waves" of Extreme volcanoes observed on Jupiter's moon, Io – "Serial bursts seem to be 500 kilometers away"

Juno's Radiation Monitoring Investigation collected this image of Jupiter's Moon Io with the star camera from Juno's Sternular Transceiver Unit (SRU), shortly after Io darkens from Jupiter at 12:40:29 (UTC) was 21, 2018. Io is gently lit by the moonlight of another monster from Jupiter, Europe. The brightest feature on Io is probably a pervasive radiation signature. One sees the glow of the activity of some of the volcanoes of Io, including a circled in the image. (NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwR)

 Jupiter's Moon Io

The JIRAM instrument captures heat at long wavelengths and detects hotspots in daylight and at night.

Jupiter's moons are not the main targets of JIRAM. Every time we get close enough to one of them, we take the opportunity for an observation, "said Alberto Adriani, a researcher at the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics. "The instrument is sensitive to infrared wavelengths, which are excellent for studying volcanic activity in Io. This is one of the best pictures of Io that JIRAM has ever collected. "

The latest images may lead to new insights into the interactions of the gas giant with its five moons, leading to phenomena such as Io's volcanic activity or freezing the lunar atmosphere during the eclipse, Bolton added. JIRAM recently documented the volcanic activity of Io before and after the solar eclipse. The volcanoes of Io were discovered in 1979 by the NASA spacecraft Voyager. Io's gravitational interaction with Jupiter drives the lunar volcanoes, which emit roof-like clouds of SO2 gas and produce extensive basaltic lava fields.

 Io Volcanoes

The Jovian Infrared Aururale Mapper Image (JIRAM) was captured on December 21, 2018 at 12:30 pm (UTC). The instrument shows very high temperatures at the site of a volcanic eruption on Io. This observation was made during the … more

The latest Io images were taken midway through the mission, which is expected to complete a map of Jupiter in July 2021. Juno launched in 2011 and arrived at Jupiter in 2016. The spaceship orbits Jupiter every 53 days, studying Auroras, atmosphere and magnetosphere.

The solar-powered Juno has eight scientific tools to study the internal structure, atmosphere, and magnetosphere of Jupiter. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA manages the Juno mission for Bolton. Juno is part of the New Frontiers program, which is managed by Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. Lockheed Martin Space built the spacecraft, and SwRI provided two Juno instruments to study the massive Jovian aurora.
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