Many of you know perfectly well that the largest planet in our Solar system there is a huge entourage of 75 moons-satellites, each of which can be interesting for research. The most striking and famous among all the satellites of Jupiter are considered the so-called Galilean moons: Ganymede, Callisto, Europa and IO, which was discovered in 1610 by the famous astronomer of the middle ages Galileo Galilei. The strange and little known companion among them is IO, the surface of which is dotted with constantly erupting volcanoes. 400 years after its discovery, this moon of Jupiter is still unwilling to part with their secrets.
Looks like IO?
About 40 years ago, the space probe “Voyager”, exploring the neighborhood of Jupiter, first took photos of the bright yellow surface of one of the moons of the giant planet IO. Already then it was clear that this unusual moon is geologically active satellite with a surface that is constantly changing due to the ongoing of its eruptions, the size of which sometimes is several times the length of the highest mountain on Earth — mount Everest. In addition, Voyager for the first time managed to “see” the radiation belt of Jupiter, which as time passes along the orbit of IO. It is because of this unfortunate location, the power of radiation of the giant planet at its nearest companion is stronger than the radiation on the surface of the Earth 1000 times, making finding a person on IO is deadly. In addition to radiation, IO is famous for its high sulfur content, which gives it the famous bright yellow hue.
Mysterious activity on IO has puzzled scientists
As the portal Space Daily, scientists in California were able to establish that huge quantities of volcanic eruptions on a satellite of a giant planet is not subject to any universally accepted models of volcanic activity.
The researchers came to this conclusion after observation of the active volcanoes of IO, which theoretically should symmetrically occur at the equator of the satellite or its poles. However, the explosive Jupiter’s moon has surprised scientists with many short eruptions that occurred on the opposite side of the satellite. Powerful pulses appeared suddenly and lasted a few days, which completely contradicts the physics of tidal heating. A similar effect has allowed scientists to assume that in addition to the powerful gravitational influence of Jupiter, IO has its own source of volcanism, making this moon the most volcanically active body in the Solar system.
In addition, the researchers were able to come to a rather unusual conclusion: the volcanoes on IO can mysteriously shift to occur in other areas of the satellite. Studies show that the reason can be underground magma oceans of the moons of Jupiter, which constantly renew the surface of this bright yellow moon.