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Photo: Vulcanic eruption on Jupiter's moon Io

Posted on Thursday, June 14 2007 @ 02:25:14 CEST by

NASA's New Horizons space craft made new pictures of a volcanic eruption on Jupiter's moon Io:
This five-frame sequence of New Horizons images captures the giant plume from Io's Tvashtar volcano. Snapped by the probe’s Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) as the spacecraft flew past Jupiter earlier this year, this first-ever “movie” of an Io plume clearly shows motion in the cloud of volcanic debris, which extends 330 kilometers (200 miles) above the moon’s surface. Only the upper part of the plume is visible from this vantage point – the plume’s source is 130 kilometers (80 miles) below the edge of Io's disk, on the far side of the moon.

The appearance and motion of the plume is remarkably similar to an ornamental fountain on Earth, replicated on a gigantic scale. The knots and filaments that allow us to track the plume’s motion are still mysterious, but this movie is likely to help scientists understand their origin, as well as provide unique information on the plume dynamics.

The image has an 8-minute span.



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