A violent eruption observed on Io, the most volcanic body in the Solar System

A violent eruption observed on Io, the most volcanic body in the Solar System

Last fall, a major volcanic eruption took place on Io, the closest Galilean satellite to Jupiter.

Jeff Morgenthaler, scientist at Institute of Planetary Sciences (PSI), used the observatory Input/Output Io (IoIO), located near Benson, Arizona (USA), to monitor volcanic activity on Io since 2017. Observations show some activity almost every year, but that of thefallfall 2022 is the most important that has been seen so far.

A coronagraph to see the gases of Io

Of Jupiter’s four largest satellites, IoIo is closest to the planet. The effect of tidetide of the orange giant and two other Galilean satellites, namely Europa and GanymedeGanymedemakes Io the most volcanic body in the Solar System. Indeed, when Ganymede traverses a orbitorbitEurope travels two and Io travels four. This resonanceresonancecalled of Laplace, makes it possible to maintain theeccentricityeccentricity orbit of Io slightly above zero (0.0041) and thus produces the main source of heat for its volcanic activity.

IoIO uses a coronagraphic technique to attenuate the light coming from JupiterJupiterthis in order to image the faint glow of gasgas close to the planet. Between July and September 2022, two of these gases became brighter: sodiumsodium and the sulfursulfur ionized. This event lasted until December. Ionized sulphur, which forms a donut-like structure around Jupiter called the plasma torus of Io, was surprisingly less bright during this eruption than in previous ones observed. For Morgenthaler, it could tell us something about the composition of the volcanic activity that produced the eruption or it could tell us that the torus is more efficient at getting rid of its mattermatter when more material is injected into it “.

Useful data for Juno’s flyby of Io

These observations have profound implications for the mission. JunoJuno. The probe, which has been orbiting Jupiter since 2016, flew past Europa on September 29, 2022, during the eruption, and is expected to pass about 1,500 kilometers from the surface of Io on December 30, 2023, just before his 57e perizene (passage of the probe as close as possible to Jupiter). Several Juno instruments are sensitive to changes in the plasma environment around Jupiter and Io that can be directly attributed to the type of volcanic activity observed by IoIO. Morgenthaler explains that ” the measurements of Juno could tell us if this volcanic eruptionvolcanic eruption had a different composition from the previous ones “.

Morgenthaler mentions that “ One of the exciting things about these sightings is that they can be replicated by almost any small institute or ambitious amateur astronomer. Almost all of the parts used to build IoIO are available at a high-end camera store or telescope store “. Having one or more copies of IoIO running elsewhere would be very useful to avoid interruptions due to weather reportweather report and could provide greater temporal coverage of the highly dynamic Io Plasma Torus and Sodium Nebula each night. ” It would be great to see another IoIO go live before Juno hits Jupiter next December. concludes Morgenthaler.

Besides the Jovian Sodium Nebula, IoIO observes Mercury’s Sodium Tail, bright comets, and transiting extrasolar planets.

#violent #eruption #observed #volcanic #body #Solar #System

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top