An unbelievable photo of Jupiter’s moon was taken by a telescope on Earth

Using a telescope perched on a mountain in Arizona, scientists have managed to take snapshots of Jupiter’s active moon Io — and these images are so detailed they even rival pictures of the world taken from space.
To capture these views, the team used a camera, dubbed SHARK-VIS, that was recently installed on the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) located on Arizona’s Mt.
Graham; the new images outline features on Io’s surface as small as 50 miles (80 kilometers) wide — a resolution that was, until now, possible only with spacecraft studying Jupiter.
“This is equivalent to taking a picture of a dime-sized object from 100 miles (161 kilometers) away,” according to a statement by the University of Arizona, which manages the telescope.
An LBT image of Io taken in early January shows a dark red ring of sulfur around Pele, which is a prominent volcano routinely spewing Alaska-size plumes up to 186 miles (300 kilometers) above Io’s surface.
“As soon as Pillan completely stops, then it will be covered up again by Pele’s red deposits.”
Algorithms then select and combine the best images, which resulted in sharpest-ever portraits of Io achievable using an Earth-based telescope.
“As it happens, the first time we observed Io we found a large change had indeed taken place.”


Scientists have captured images of Jupiter’s active moon Io with a telescope mounted atop a mountain in Arizona; these images are so detailed that they even outperform space-based views of the Earth.

The group employed a camera called SHARK-VIS, which was just mounted atop the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) on Mount Washington in Arizona, to obtain these views. Graham; up until now, only spacecraft observing Jupiter could capture features on Io’s surface at a resolution of up to 50 miles (80 kilometers) across. The new images do just that. As per the statement released by the University of Arizona, the telescope’s manager, “this is equivalent to taking a picture of a dime-sized object from 100 miles (161 kilometers) away.”.

In fact, the new images of Io are so detailed that scientists were able to identify overlapping lava deposits erupted by two active volcanoes near the southern equator of the moon. Pele, a well-known volcano that frequently erupts plumes the size of Alaska up to 186 miles (300 kilometers) above Io’s surface, is surrounded by a dark red ring of sulfur, as seen in an LBT image of the planet taken in early January. This nearby volcano, Pillan Patera, is known to erupt less frequently, and its white debris, which represents frozen sulfur dioxide, partially obscures that ring. A new deposit of material erupted by the active volcano is revealed in April when NASA’s spacecraft Juno captures images of Pele’s red ring almost entirely again during its closest flyby past the moon in 20 years.

See also: NASA discovers a “glass-smooth lake of cooling lava” on Io, Jupiter’s moon.

Another statement from study co-author Imke de Pater of the University of California, Berkeley, described it as “kind of a competition between the Pillan eruption and the Pele eruption, how much and how fast each deposits.”. “Pele’s red deposits will cover it up once more as soon as Pillan stops completely.”. ****.

Because of a gravitational tug-of-war between Jupiter and its two other nearby moons, Europa and Ganymede, frictional heat is generated deep within Io, fueling the moon’s volcanic eruptions, including those of Pele and Pillan Patera. Keeping an eye on Io’s volcanic activity can help scientists understand how the eruptions shaped the moon’s surface overall. These eruptions have probably dogged the planet for the majority, if not all, of its 4 point57 billion years of existence.

When the Voyager spacecraft first observed volcanic activity on the moon in 1979, surface changes on Io—which is actually the most volcanically active body in the solar system—have been documented. NASA’s Galileo spacecraft saw a similar sequence of eruptions from Pele and Pillan Patera when it was traveling through the Jupiter system in 1995 and 2003.

Nevertheless, study co-author Ashley Davies, a principal scientist for planetary geosciences at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, noted in the statement that “such resurfacing events were impossible to observe from Earth” before the new camera was installed on the LBT last year. This is because infrared images captured by ground-based telescopes can detect hotspots indicative of active volcanic eruptions; however, scientists claim that the resolution of these images is insufficient to pinpoint exact locations of eruptions and surface modifications, such as recently formed plume deposits.

Davies and her colleagues wrote in a new study published Tuesday (June 4) in the journal Geophysical Research Letters that “although this type of resurfacing event may be common on Io, few have been detected due to the rarity of spacecraft visits and the previously low spatial resolution available from Earth-based telescopes.”. “With SHARK-VIS, planetary imaging enters a new era. “.

Developed by the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics at the Rome Astronomical Observatory, SHARK-VIS combines real-time adjustments of its twin mirrors to compensate for blurring resulting from atmospheric turbulence, giving it an unprecedented level of sharpness. The sharpest portraits of Io ever captured with an Earth-based telescope were made possible by algorithms that subsequently chose and combined the best photos.

As per Davies’ statement to Astronomy, “Io was selected as a test case due to its notable surface alterations that could be identified at SHARK’s spatial resolution.”. As it happens, we discovered that there had been a significant change on Io when we first observed it. “.

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