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A massive volcanic eruption that extended for months on Jupiter’s moon Io (video)

Physicist Jeff Morgenthaler revealed that Jupiter’s moon “Io”, which is the most geologically active object in the solar system, witnessed a record-breaking volcanic eruption last year.

Morgenthaler of the Planetary Science Institute (PSI) has been monitoring volcanic activity on Io every year since 2017. He said Jupiter’s moon shows some kind of eruption every year, but the largest eruptions so far were recorded in the fall of 2022.

In his study, the physicist used data from the Planetary Science Institute’s Input/Output Observatory (IoIO), located near Benson, Arizona.

The observatory uses so-called coronagraphic technology, dimming bright light from Jupiter so that faint gases can be imaged near the gas giant.

This allowed monitoring the brightness of gases in a cloud or “nebula” around Jupiter, which began between July and September 2022 and ended just last month.

However, the ionized sulfur — which forms a circular, doughnut-shaped structure surrounding Jupiter known as “Io plasma neutrals” (ring clouds or rounded protrusions of gas or plasma) — was not as bright in the recent eruption as it has been in previous years.

“This might tell us something about the composition of the volcanic activity that results in the eruption,” Dr. Morgenthaler said. “Or it could tell us that the ring cloud is more efficient at ridding itself of material when more material is thrown into it.”

The physicist revealed that the observations have profound implications for NASA’s Juno spacecraft, which has been orbiting Jupiter since 2016.

The Juno spacecraft has flown past Europa and is now slowly approaching Io, flying close to it at the end of this year.

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Dr Morgenthaler added: “Juno’s measurements may be able to tell us whether this eruption had a different composition than its predecessors.” (Russia Today)