A NASA spacecraft sees a volcanic explosion on Jupiter’s third-largest moon.
En route to the icy worlds inhabiting the outer regions of our solar system, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft zipped past Jupiter, catching Io, the planet’s third-largest moon, enduring a volcanic explosion. Locked in a perpetual tug of war between the imposing gravity of Jupiter and the smaller, consistent pulls of its neighboring moons, Io’s distorted orbit causes it to flex as it swoops around the gas giant. The stretching causes friction and intense heat in Io’s interior, sparking massive eruptions across its surface. Images snapped by the spacecraft’s high-resolution telescopic camera in March 2007 show a 200-mile-high plume spewing from Tvashtar volcano in Io’s northern hemisphere. Watch the video to see it for yourself.
Lava spills onto the surface of Io during a volcanic eruption.
Writer: Julia Calderone (USRA)
Please give credit for this item to: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Cover image courtesy of NASA/JPL/University of Arizona Video courtesy of NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute Globe image courtesy of NASA/JPL/USGS Surface image courtesy of NASA/JPL/USGS Surface close-up courtesy of NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
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