ALMA | National Radio Astronomy Observatory | 2020 Oct 21
New radio images from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) show for the first time the direct effect of volcanic activity on the atmosphere of Jupiter’s moon Io.
- Composite image showing Jupiter’s moon Io in radio (ALMA), and optical light (Voyager 1 and Galileo). The ALMA images of Io show for the first time plumes of sulfur dioxide (in yellow) rise up from its volcanoes. Jupiter is visible in the background (Cassini image). Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), I. de Pater et al.; NRAO/AUI NSF, S. Dagnello; NASA/JPL/SSI
Io is the most volcanically active moon in our solar system. It hosts more than 400 active volcanoes, spewing out sulfur gases that give Io its yellow-white-orange-red colors when they freeze out on its surface.
Although it is extremely thin – about a billion times thinner than Earth’s atmosphere – Io has an atmosphere that can teach us about Io’s volcanic activity and provide us a window into the exotic moon’s interior and what is happening below its colorful crust.
Previous research has shown that Io’s atmosphere is dominated by sulfur dioxide gas, ultimately sourced from volcanic activity. “However, it is not known which process drives the dynamics in Io’s atmosphere,” said Imke de Pater of the University of California, Berkeley. “Is it volcanic activity, or gas that has sublimated (transitioned from solid to gaseous state) from the icy surface when Io is in sunlight?“
To distinguish between the different processes that give rise to Io’s atmosphere, a team of astronomers used ALMA to make snapshots of the moon when it passed in and out of Jupiter’s shadow ...
Active Volcanoes Feed Io's Sulfurous Atmosphere
University of California, Berkeley | 2020 Oct 21
ALMA Observations of Io Going into and Coming out of Eclipse ~ Imke de Pater et al
- arXiv.org > astro-ph > arXiv:2009.07729 > 16 Sep 2020
SO Emissions on Io: Evidence for Widespread Stealth Volcanism ~ Imke de Pater et al
- Planetary Science Journal 1(2):29 (2020 Sep) DOI: 10.3847/PSJ/ab9eb1