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Jupiter Moon Io Unleashes Cataclysmic Eruptions

One of Jupiter's moons has unleashed a series of huge volcanic eruptions over a hellish 2 week period that were so bright they could be studied in detail by ground based observatories.

Published On 08/04/2014
8:39 PM EDT
Mosaic of Voyager 1 images covering Io's south polar region. The view includes two of Io's ten highest peaks, the Euboea Montes at upper extreme left and Haemus Mons at bottom. | NASA/JPL-Caltech/USGS
Images of Io obtained at different infrared wavelengths (in microns, μm, or millionths of a meter) with the W. M. Keck Observatory's 10-meter Keck II telescope on Aug. 15, 2013 (a-c) and the Gemini North telescope on Aug. 29, 2013 (d). The bar on the right of each image indicates the intensity of the infrared emission. Note that emissions from the large volcanic outbursts on Aug. 15 at Rarog and Heno Paterae have substantially faded by Aug. 29. A second bright spot is visible to the north of the Rarog and Heno eruptions in c and to the west of the outburst in d. This hot spot was identified as Loki Patera, a lava lake that appeared to be particularly active at the same time. | Image by Imke de Pater and Katherine de Kleer, UC Berkeley.