Although space missions Voyager and Galileo observed evidence of volcanic activity on Io, it was a faint blue plume at the edge of Io’s limb in a highly-enhanced image from Voyager that first offered evidence of the moon’s turbulent nature.You fancy yourself an armchair astronomer? A group of California researchers have stepped it up a notch by monitoring the intense volcanic eruptions on Jupiter’s strangest moon Io from the comfort of their home.
Io, the innermost of the four largest moons around Jupiter, or the Galilean moons, is the most volcanically active object in the Solar System with more than 400 active volcanoes spitting out plumes of sulfur and sulfur dioxide. Scientists think a gravitational tug-of-war with Jupiter is one cause of Io’s intense vulcanism. Researchers point out that most of the processes are not well understood. While Io’s eruptions can’t be seen directly from Earth, a team led by Frank Marchis, a researcher at the Carl Sagan Center of the SETI Institute have come up with an unique combination of Earth-based telescope arrays and archival imagery from the Voyager and Galileo probes, according to a press release. The team announced their findings at the 2012 Division of Planetary Sciences meeting today in Reno, Nevada.
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