Pictured: Io and Jupiter
Io is the innermost of the four Galilean moons of Jupiter. With a diameter of 2,263 miles, it is the 3rd largest of Jupiter’s moons and the fourth largest moon in our solar system. It was discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610 AD. Io is named for the daughter of Inachus, who was raped by Jupiter. Jupiter, in an effort to hide his crime from his wife, Juno, transformed Io into a heifer.
Here are some interesting facts about Io:
- With more than 400 active volcanoes, It’s the most geologically active body in our solar system. Because of this, Io’s surface looks a lot different than our own moon. The lava flowing from the volcanoes continiously reshape the landscape. Io is also home to the most powerful volcano in our solar system, Loki. Loki can spew our over 1,000 square meters of lava per second.
- Not only does Io have some of the most powerful volcanos in the solar system, but it also has the tallest mountains as well. Some of the mountains are as high as 55,000ft, which is almost twice as high as Mt. Everest.
- While the surface temperature on Io is generally cold, the surface near an active volcano can heat up to tempreatures up to 3,000F.
- Io has a thin atmosphere consisting mainly of sulfar dioxide with trace amounts of iron monoxide silicon monixide, silicon dioxide and iron monoxide.
Today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a time laps photo of the conjunctions of the Moon and Mercury just before dawn.
A conjunction usually refers to when two or more planets/the Moon are very close together. These types of alignments happen pretty often, like when the Moon, Venus and Jupiter were grouped together in the sky a few months ago.
What I find neat about this particular photo is that it shows the Moon transitioning through the phases.
Click on the link to read more information about the picture. -JNB
An active volcanic eruption on Jupiter’s moon Io was captured in this false color image taken on February 22, 2000 by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft. White and orange areas on the left side of the picture show newly erupted hot lava. The two small bright spots are sites where molten rock is exposed to the surface at the toes of lava flows. The larger orange and yellow ribbon is a cooling lava flow that is more than more than 60 kilometers (37 miles) long.
This video was taken of Io by New Horizons as it passed by Jupiter on its way to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt: