On March 1, 2023, NASA’s Juno spacecraft flew by Jupiterof the moon Io, lying within 51,500 km (32,030 miles) of the innermost and third largest of the four Galilean moons.
The stunning new images offer the best and closest view of our solar system’s most volcanic moon since the New Horizons mission flew past Io and the Jupiter system in 2006 en route to Pluto.
Cleary, Io still looks like pizza. The mottled and colorful surface is the result of volcanic activity, with hundreds of vents and calderas on the surface creating a variety of features.
Volcanic plumes and lava flows across the surface appear in all sorts of colors, from red and yellow to orange and black. Some of the “rivers” of lava extend for hundreds of kilometres.
In its extended mission, Juno has now orbited Jupiter 49 times and is on track to survey several of Jupiter’s moons.
This latest flyby of Io was the third of nine flybys of the volcanic moon over the next year, the first arriving in December 2022.
An upcoming flyby next year, on February 3, 2024, will come within 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) of Io.
Montage of the 5 images of Io taken by @NASAJunothe JunoCAM instrument from during the PJ49 encounter on March 1, 2023.
Credit: NASA / SwRI / MSSS / Jason Perry pic.twitter.com/o2G7DUASbd
— Jason Perry (@volcanopele) March 4, 2023
Jason Perry, an Io observation expert who has worked with the Cassini, Galileo, and HiRISE imaging teams said on Twitter that his first looks at these images show some subtle changes from the New Horizons footage.
“The surface changes are quite subtle but there are at least two,” Perry wrote. “The first is a small stream from the eastern end of East Girru. It is a [volcanic] access point first seen by New Horizons in the middle of a mini explosion. Still active according to Juno JIRAM.”
The Jovian InfraRed Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) is a dual instrument, consisting of an imager and a spectrometer that share the same telescope.
Perry said other data shows reddening of Chors Patera, a bowl-shaped volcanic crater. “Reddish material on Io indicates the presence of S3-S4, short-chain sulfur that needs to be refreshed regularly by active high-temperature volcanism,” he explained.
Io, a world around Jupiter a few hours ago
Full size video: https://t.co/QtOexIBOY9
Orbit (Périjove) 49@NASAJuno
Alt: 64994 at 52515 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 not actually part of the spacecraft’s primary science payload.
It was included in the mission as a public awareness camera, and its footage is being processed by members of the public, many of whom have been actively processing Juno footage since it reached Jupiter in 2016.
However, with the plethora of JunoCam footage, it turned out that the imagery was also used for science.
The images here are from Andrea Chance, Kevin M. Gill an/a Jason Perry.
Juno’s next encounter with Io will be during Perijove 51 on May 16, 2023 at a distance of 35,000 kilometers.
This article was originally published by Universe today. Read it original article.