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New Horizons LORRI image.



Movie (Gif animation, 1.21mb)

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NASA released new extraordinary photos of Jupiter showing one of the largest storms in the solar system and other detailed images of its moons and rings.
The photos captured by the New Horizons spacecraft have impressed scientists with never-before-seen perspectives of the giant planet's atmosphere.
The closest look yet at Jupiter's "Little Red Spot" -- a southern hemisphere storm nearly the size of Earth -- also was returned during what amounted to an interplanetary checkout of spacecraft systems and science instruments.

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New images of Jupiter released by NASA show a volcanic eruption on one of the planet's moons and give scientists never-before-seen perspectives of the planet.
The pictures, taken by the New Horizons spacecraft, show the large, volcanically active moon called "lo" while an eruption is taking place.

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If you look with a certain kind of eye at the photos of Jupiters moon Io taken by the Voyager, Galileo and Cassini spacecrafts, you cringe. It is a seething wasteland.
Sulphurous, flaky yellow sands stretch across distances cracked by miles-wide gouges. Ten-thousand-foot mountains jut up like inverted chasms, and pools of lava heave from gashes in the surface like massive boils. Volcanic ash and gas shoot hundreds of feet into emptiness.

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This Galileo global false colour mosaic was constructed from low phase angle violet, green, and near-infrared (756 nanometer) images from orbits G2, E6, C9, and C21. The images were calibrated using the best end-of-mission calibration information, corrected empirically for limb-darkening, and map projected using the camera-pointing corrections of Archinal et al. (2001). The coregistered colour images were next hand-edited to remove topographic shadows and pixels too near the limb, and mosaicked using a numerical procedure (Soderblom et al., 1978) that reduces the mismatch at the seams. This mosaic represents our best understanding of Io's colour as pictured during the Galileo Mission. The true colours that would be visible to the eye are similar but much more muted than shown here. The spatial resolution of the mosaic ranges from 1.3 to 21 km/pixel at the equator, with the poorest resolution on the Jupiter-facing hemisphere of Io.

Io_SSI_VGR
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Credit NASA/JPL/USGS

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Io is the most volcanically active body in the Solar System. Volcanoes erupt massive volumes of silicate lava, sulphur and sulphur dioxide, constantly changing Io's appearance. This new basemap of Jupiter's moon Io was produced by combining the best images from both the Voyager 1 and Galileo Missions. Although the subjovian hemisphere of Io was poorly seen by Galileo, superbly detailed Voyager 1 images cover longitudes from 240 W to 40 W and the nearby southern latitudes. A monochrome mosaic of the highest resolution images from both Galileo and Voyager 1 was assembled that includes 51 Voyager 1 images with spatial resolutions sometimes exceeding the 1 km/pixel scale of the final mosaic.

io09257
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Credit: NASA/JPL/USGS

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NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is monitoring the volcanically active moon Io in support of the February 28 New Horizons spacecraft flyby of Jupiter. These images were taken with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 on February 14, 2007. The left image, taken in natural colour, reveals orange oval deposits of sulphur around the Pele volcano, and other familiar surface features on Io, which is innermost of the Galilean satellites. The ultraviolet image on the right shows a big plume rising above the surface, not far from the north pole. Though Io is no bigger than Earth's geologically dead Moon, Io's interior is kept molten due to the gravitational tug of Jupiter and the other Galilean satellites.

io_hst
Credit NASA

Hubble will continue to photograph Io, as well as Jupiter over the next month, as the New Horizons spacecraft flies past Jupiter. New Horizons is en route to Pluto, and made its closest approach to Jupiter on February 28, 2007.
Through combined remote imaging by Hubble and in situ measurements by New Horizons, the two missions will enhance each other scientifically, allowing scientists to learn more about the Jovian atmosphere, the aurorae, and Jupiter's charged-particle environment and its interaction with the solar wind.

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Nasa's New Horizons spacecraft has sent back images of a huge volcanic eruption on Jupiter's moon Io.
A massive dust plume, estimated to be 240km high, can be seen erupting from Io's Tvashtar volcano.

Io_203
The plume is seen as an umbrella-shaped feature in the long exposure image to the right
Credit NASA


On Wednesday, the US probe flew by Jupiter, using the planet's gravity to boost its speed, reducing the travel time to its ultimate target of Pluto.
New Horizons also took photos of the icy moons Europa and Ganymede in the run-up to its encounter with Jupiter.
Turning its cameras to the giant planet itself, the spacecraft captured an image of Jupiter's little red spot, a nascent storm south of the famous great red spot.

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Title: Loki, Io: New groundbased observations and a model describing the change from periodic overturn
Authors: Julie A. Rathbun, John R. Spencer

Loki Patera is the most powerful volcano in the solar system.
Researchers have obtained measurements of Loki's 3.5-micron brightness from NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) and have witnessed a change from the periodic behaviour previously noted.
While Loki brightened by a factor of several every 540 days prior to 2001, from 2001 through 2004 Loki remained at a constant, medium brightness.
The researchers have constructed a quantitative model of Loki as a basaltic lava lake whose solidified crust overturns when it becomes buoyantly unstable. By altering the speed at which the overturn propagates across the patera, they can match their groundbased brightness data. In addition, they can match other data taken at other times and wavelengths. By slowing the propagation speed dramatically, they can match the observations from 2001-2004. This slowing may be due to a small change in volatile content in the magma.


3.5 m brightness of Loki as measured primarily from Jupiter occultations. Some of the data was taken at other wavelengths (3.8, 4,8, and 3.39 m), see Rathbun et al. (2002) for details. The dotted square wave has a period of 540 days to show the early periodicity.


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