Marvel at the intricate details of Jupiter's volcanic moon, Io, as brought to you by NASA's Juno mission. With the most detailed visible-light images since New Horizons' 2007 journey to Pluto, Juno unfolds a mesmerizing canvas of Io's topography.
NASA’s Juno mission delivers a visual feast with the highest resolution images of Jupiter’s moon Io, surpassing the clarity of those captured by New Horizons in its 2007 journey to Pluto.
Juno Mission Close Flyby of Io
On May 16, 2023, Juno soared within a breathtaking 35,000 kilometers from the rough surface of Io. As Juno approached and distanced itself from this volcanic moon, the JunoCAM managed to capture eight distinctive views within a 75-minute timeframe. These remarkably sharp images shed new light on Io’s geology, unveiling a terrain peppered with mountains and volcanoes, some of which have transformed over the past 16 years.
Io’s Surface Changes: A Comparative Study
The images offer a fresh perspective compared to those captured by New Horizons in 2007 and the Galileo spacecraft over two decades ago. Previously detected changes include fresh red material around Chors Patera and darkening near a volcano east of Girru Patera. The recent flyby also uncovered changes at the Volund volcano for the first time.
Juno mission Thermal Data Augments Visible Observations
Onboard Juno’s JIRAM instrument, previous thermal data had pinpointed two significant areas of activity at Volund. Presently, these two areas appear darker than their representation in the 2007 New Horizons images. The dark spots are most noticeable near the terminator – the line dividing the illuminated and dark sides – in the third image from the left in the top row. Further revelations might be unveiled from encounters planned for July and October.
Probing Io’s North Polar Region
Juno’s polar approach has been instrumental in mapping Io’s north-polar region. A conspicuous triangular area, clearly visible above the center in the second image from the left in the bottom row, plays host to two towering mountains. These mountains, potentially similar to the polar Haemus Montes, are usually encased by bright sulfur dioxide frost moats. Confirmation of a third mountain remains pending until the forthcoming July and October missions.
Io’s Images Enhanced for Better Clarity
The images of Io presented here were initially captured with a pixel scale ranging from 24 to 52 kilometers per pixel. To enhance the visibility of surface features, these images have been magnified five-fold.
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