After years of capturing the vast world of Jupiter, the Juno spacecraft now turned its attention to Jupiter’s moons. During a close flyby of Jupiter’s spookiest moon, Juno photographed the charred surface of a volcanic world gripped by a haunting gravitational pull.
This week, NASA divided New images captured by the Juno spacecraft during its flyby of Jupiter’s moon Io on October 15. The images show a menacing look at the most volcanically active world in the solar system, which has clearly been through a lot in the last 4.5 billion years.
Images captured by Juno will be made available to the public through the missions website, and often data visualization artists work on the raw data to create beautiful renderings. This above was edited by a software developer Kevin Gillwhile the following was edited by Ted Stryk.
This is perhaps the clearest view we’ve seen of Io as the Juno spacecraft inches ever closer to the moon. The moon’s surface is corroded by hundreds of volcanoes and lakes of molten silicate lava, which is why the moon appears scorched, as if it had undergone tremendous torment.
The moon is sandwiched between the immense gravitational pull of Jupiter and the gravitational pull of its sister moons Europa and Ganymede. This causes the moon to constantly stretch and compress, contributing to its volcanic activity.
NASA’s Juno spacecraft, which has been studying the Jupiter system since 2016, observed Io during previous flybys in May and July. Juno too captured a cozy family photo of Jupiter and Io in September, revealing the gas giant and its moon side by side. The next time Juno will approach the volcanic world will be on December 30th and February 1st, 2024, and again on September 20th, 2024. He approaches the eerie world with caution in order to collect further data about its activity.
As the innermost of Jupiter’s large moons, Io is the primary source of most charged particles in the planet’s magnetosphere, creating a donut-shaped cloud of ions and electrons that surrounds Jupiter. The cloud known as the Io plasma torus forms when atmospheric gases escaping from Io are ionized.
During upcoming flybys, scientists from the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) will use the Hubble and James Webb telescopes At the same time, observe Jupiter’s moon from a distance.
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