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Major volcanic eruption seen on Jupiter's moon Io

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#1 Crisp

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 12:56

Major volcanic eruption seen on Jupiter's moon Io

majorvolcani.jpg

Voyager 1 acquired this image of Io on March 4, 1979. An enormous volcanic explosion can be seen silhouetted against dark space over Io’s bright limb. Credit: NASA/JPL
 

Recent observations of Jupiter's moon Io has revealed a massive volcanic eruption taking place 628,300,000 km (390,400,000 miles) from Earth. Io, the innermost of the four largest moons around Jupiter, is the most volcanically active object in the Solar System with about 240 active regions. But this new one definitely caught the eye of Dr. Imke de Pater, Professor of Astronomy and of Earth and Planetary Science at the University of California in Berkeley. She was using the Keck II telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii on August 15, 2013 when it immediately became apparent something big was happening at Io.

"When you are right at the telescope and see the data, this is something you can see immediately, especially with a big eruption like that," de Pater told Universe Today via phone.

de Pater said this eruption is one of the top 10 most powerful eruptions that have been seen on this moon. "It is a very energetic eruption that covers over a 30 square kilometer area," she said. "For Earth, that is big, and for Io it is very big too. It really is one of the biggest eruptions we have seen."

She added the new volcano appears to have a large energy output. "We saw a big eruption in 2001, which was in the Surt region, which is well known as the biggest one anyone has ever seen," she said. "For this one, the total energy is less but per square meter, it is bigger than the one in 2001, so it is very powerful."

While Io's eruptions can't be seen directly from Earth,infrared cameras on the Keck telescope (looking between 1 and 5 microns) have been able to ascertain there are likely fountains of lava gushing from fissures in the Rarog Patera region of Io, aptly named for a Czech fire deity.

Voyager 1 acquired this image of Io on March 4, 1979. An enormous volcanic explosion can be seen silhouetted against dark space over Io’s bright limb. Credit: NASA/JPL

 

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#2 +Bryan R.

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 13:12

I could be mistaken but I thought this moon was so active because of it's proximity to Jupiter. Basically Jupiter's gravity bends the crust of the moon similar to how our moon affects our tides. This friction makes it very hot and the moon will never cool and will continue to have enormous volcanic activity.

 

I may be wrong on which moon this applies to but I thought it was this one.



#3 Growled

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 15:12


"It is a very energetic eruption that covers over a 30 square kilometer area," she said. "For Earth, that is big, and for Io it is very big too. It really is one of the biggest eruptions we have seen."

 

I sure am glad this isn't happening on earth. That is huge.



#4 Vester

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 15:15

Yeah that's nuts. Amazing though.



#5 OP Crisp

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 15:26

I could be mistaken but I thought this moon was so active because of it's proximity to Jupiter.

 

Most of Jupiter's large moons are affected by this.

 

Europa is the one which has a frozen crust which scientists claim has a liquid water ocean under from the orbit stretching and compressing it like an egg shape causing friction to heat the core.



#6 +warwagon

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 16:17

Most of Jupiter's large moons are affected by this.

 

Europa is the one which has a frozen crust which scientists claim has a liquid water ocean under from the orbit stretching and compressing it like an egg shape causing friction to heat the core.

 

Europa movie FTW!



#7 DocM

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 17:14

And a lot of scientists & biologists think life could exist in the Europan ocean. Most likely similar to the life forms around the thermal vents in Earth's ocean floors. These live off of each other with chemosynthetic bacteria at the bottom of the food chain.

#8 OP Crisp

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 22:11

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#9 The_Observer

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 00:25

Could this be a squel to "The Day After Tomorrow"