(ORDO NEWS) — Several recent works illustrate how the VLA and ALMA telescopes are helping scientists study Jupiter and its moon Io.
Jupiter’s atmosphere is complex and dynamic and changes rapidly. To explore the giant planet’s atmosphere at different depths, scientists combined observations made by instruments aboard NASA‘s Juno spacecraft with observations made by the VLA.
They collected data on the distribution of residual ammonia gas at different levels of the atmosphere in order to investigate its vertical structure.
The spatial resolution of ground-based VLA observations was comparable to that of an instrument aboard a spacecraft orbiting the planet.
These observations made it possible to obtain a very high resolution radio image of Jupiter. This method has helped scientists deepen their understanding of Jupiter’s deep atmosphere.
Io, the moon of Jupiter, is the most volcanically active body in our solar system. Io has a rarefied atmosphere composed primarily of sulfur dioxide (SO2), which is produced by numerous volcanic eruptions and the sublimation of SO2 frost on the surface.
The scientists used ALMA to study the residual gases of sodium chloride (NaCl) and potassium chloride (KCl) in the atmosphere.
They found that these compounds are largely limited in volume and are found at high temperatures, indicating that they, too, are ejected by volcanoes.
The researchers also determined that these compounds and SO2 emissions are in different locations, suggesting that there may be differences in subsurface magma or in the eruption processes of volcanoes that emit SO2 and those that emit NaCl and KCl.
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