Large volcanic ejecta has been discovered on Jupiter’s moon Io

(ORDO NEWS) — A large volcanic ejection has been detected on Jupiter’s moon Io by Jeff Morgenthaler of the Planetary Science Institute (PSI) using the IoIO (Io Input/Output observatory)

Morgenthaler has been using IoIO, located near Benson, Arizona, to monitor volcanic activity on Io since 2017 . Observations show flashes almost every year, but the largest of them was seen in the fall of 2022.

IoIO uses a coronography technique that dims the light from Jupiter to image faint gases near a very bright planet.

The clarification of two of these gases, sodium and ionized sulfur, began between July and September 2022 and continued until December 2022.

The ionized sulfur that forms Io’s plasma torus was, oddly enough, not as bright in this outburst as previously observed.

“It could tell us something about the composition of the volcanic activity that caused the outbreak, or it could tell us that the torus is more efficient at getting rid of material when more material is thrown into it,” Morgenthaler said.

These observations are extremely important for NASA‘s Juno mission, which has been orbiting Jupiter since 2016.

Juno passed Europa during the outbreak and is now on its way to Io for a rendezvous in December 2023.

The spacecraft is sensitive to changes in the plasma environment around Jupiter and Io.

“Measurements from Juno can tell us if the composition of this volcanic ejecta was different from previous ones,” Morgenthaler said.

“One of the exciting things about these observations is that they can be reproduced by almost any small college or ambitious amateur astronomer.

Almost all of the parts used to assemble the IoIO can be purchased from a high-end camera or telescope store.”

In addition to observing Jupiter’s sodium nebula, IoIO also observes Mercury’s sodium tail, bright comets, and transiting extrasolar planets.


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