An annotated image highlights the location of the new heat source close to the south pole of Io. The scale to the right of image depicts of the range of temperatures displayed in the infrared image. Higher recorded temperatures are characterized in brighter colours – lower temperatures in darker colours. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM
Data collected by NASA’s Juno spacecraft using its Jovian InfraRed Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument point to a new heat source close to the south pole of Io that could indicate a previously undiscovered volcano on the small moon of Jupiter. The infrared data were collected on 16 December 2017, when Juno was about 470,000 kilometres (290,000 miles) away from the moon.
“The new Io hotspot JIRAM picked up is about 200 miles (300 kilometres) from the nearest previously mapped hotspot,” says Alessandro Mura, a Juno co-investigator from the National Institute for Astrophysics in Rome, Italy. “We are not ruling out movement or modification of a previously discovered hot spot, but it is difficult to imagine one could travel such a distance and still be considered the same feature.”
The Juno team will continue to evaluate data collected on the 16 December flyby, as well as JIRAM data ...