A team of space scientists has captured new images of a volcanic plume on Jupiter's moon Io during the Juno Mission's 17th airbase in the gas giant. On December 21, during the winter solstice, four of Juno's cameras captured images of the Jovian Moon Io, the most volcanic body in our solar system. JunoCam, Stellar Reference Unit (SRU), Jovian Infrared Auroral Folders (JIRAM) and Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVS) observed Io for over an hour, giving a glimpse of the lunar polar regions as well as signs of an active outbreak.
"We knew we were breaking new ground with a multi-spectral campaign to see the polar area of Ios, but no one expected us to be lucky enough to see an active volcanic plume shoot out of the moon's surface," says Scott Bolton , Chief Scientist of the Juno Mission and an Associate Vice President of the Southwest Research Institute's Space Science and Engineering Division. "This is a New Year's present that shows us that Juno has the ability to clearly see plumes."
JunoCam bought the first pictures on December 21 at. 12.00, 12:15 and 12:20 coordinated universal time (UTC) before entering the Jupiter's shadow. The pictures show the moon half-lit with a bright spot just above the terminator, the day-night border.
"The earth is already in shade, but the height of the plume allows it to reflect sunlight, just as the way the mountain peaks or clouds on Earth continue to turn on after the sun sets," explained Candice Hansen-Koharcheck, JunoCam management from the planetary science institute.
At 12:40 UTC, after entering the darkness of total eclipse behind Jupiter, sunlight contributed to nearby moon Europe to illuminate Io and its plume. SRU images published by SwRI depict Io softly illuminated by moonlight from Europe. The brightest feature of Io in the image is believed to be a penetrating radiation signature, a reminder of the role of this satellite in feeding Jupiter's radiation belts, while other features show the activity light of several volcanoes. "As a low light camera designed to track the stars, the SRU can only observe Io under very dimly lit conditions. Dec. 21 gave us a unique opportunity to observe Ios volcanic activity with the SRU using only Europe's moonlight as our light bulb," Heidi said. Becker, Head of Juno & # 39; s Radiation Monitoring Study, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Sensor heat at long wavelengths detects the JIRAM instrument hotspots in daylight and at night.
"Although Jupiter's moons are not JIRAM's primary goal every time we pass close enough to one of them, we use the possibility of an observation," says Alberto Adriani, a researcher at the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics. "The instrument is sensitive to infrared wavelengths perfect for studying volcano in Io. This is one of the best images of Io that JIRAM has been able to collect so far."
The latest images can lead to new insights into the gas giant's interactions with its five moons, which cause phenomena such as Ios volcanic activity or freezing the moon's atmosphere during eclipse, Bolton added. JIRAM recently documented Ios volcanic activity before and after eclipse. Ios volcanoes were discovered by NASA's Voyager spacecraft in 1979. Ios gravity interaction with Jupiter drives the moon's volcanoes emitting umbrella-like plumes of SO2 gas and producing extensive basaltic lava fields.
The latest Io images were captured on the mission's halfway, which is scheduled to complete a map of Jupiter in July 2021. Launched in 2011, Juno arrived in Jupiter in 2016. The spacecraft orbits Jupiter every 53 days and studies its auras, atmosphere and magnetosphere.
The solar powered Juno has eight scientific instruments designed to study Jupiter's inner structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the Bolton Juno mission. Juno is part of the New Frontiers Program, which is managed at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, to NASA's Director of Science. Lockheed Martin Space built the spacecraft, and SwRI provided two Juno instruments to study the massive Jovian aurora.
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