On March 1, 2023, NASA’s Juno spacecraft flew by Jupiter’s moon Io, coming within 51,500 kilometers (32,030 miles) of the deepest and third largest of the four Galilean moons.
Stunning new images provide the best and closest view of our solar system’s volcanic moon since the New Horizons mission flew through the Io system and the Jupiter system in 2006 on its way to Pluto.
Cleary, Io still looks like a pizza. The mottled and colorful surface comes from volcanic activity, with hundreds of vents and calderas on the surface creating a variety of features.
The volcanic plumes and lava flows across the surface appear in all sorts of colors, from red and yellow to orange and black. Some lava “rivers” stretch for hundreds of kilometers.
In its extended mission, Juno has now orbited Jupiter 49 times, and is on its way to studying several of Jupiter’s moons.
This final flyby of Io was the third of nine flybys of the volcanic moon over the following year, marking the first flyby of the volcanic moon. December 2022.
An upcoming flyby next year on February 3, 2024 will come within 1,500 km (930 miles) of Io.
A montage of all five photos of Io taken @employeeThe JunoCAM instrument during a PJ49 rendezvous on March 1, 2023.
Image credit: NASA/SwRI/MSSS/Jason Perry pic.twitter.com/o2G7DUASbd
– Jason Perry (volcanopele) March 4, 2023
Jason Perry, an Io monitoring expert who has worked with the Cassini, Galileo and HiRISE imaging teams he said on Twitter A first look at these images shows some subtle changes from the New Horizons images.
“The surface changes are very slight but there are at least two,” Perry wrote. “The first is a small stream from the eastern end of East Jirou. This is a [volcanic] Hotspot first New Horizons watched Amidst a little outburst. Still active according to Juno Jerome.”
The Jovian InfraRed Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) is a dual instrument consisting of an imager and spectrograph that share the same telescope.
Other data show the bowl-shaped crater of Choros Patera, Berry said. “The reddish material on Io indicates the presence of S3-S4, a short-chain sulfur that must be regularly replenished through high-temperature volcanic activity,” he explained.
🧵1 / n
Io, a world around Jupiter a few hours ago
Full size video: https://t.co/QtOexIBOY9
Orbit (Peruv) 49@employee
Alternative: 64,994 to 52,515 km
JNCE_2023060_49C00074>78#space #astronomy #Jupiter #Io
NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/AndreaLuck https://t.co/OPyD42aNzf pic.twitter.com/R7NYyhDaIA
– Andrea Luck (@andrluck) March 4, 2023
JunoCam is a high-resolution visible light instrument, which is actually not part of the spacecraft’s primary science payload.
Included in the mission as a public awareness camera, its images are being processed by members of the public, many of whom have been actively processing Juno’s images since its arrival at Jupiter in 2016.
However, with an abundance of JunoCam Pictures, It turns out that the photos were also used for science, too.
Juno’s next encounter with Io will be during Peregov 51 on May 16, 2023 at a distance of 35,000 km.
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