A montage of new Horizons images of Jupiter and its volcanic moon Io, taken throughout the probe’s flyby in early 2007. Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University used Physics Laboratory/Southwest research study Institute/GSFC
Source: newspaper of Geophysical Research: an are Physics

Lakes that lava and hundreds the volcanoes period the surface ar of Jupiter’s moon Io, some spewing lava dozens that kilometers into the air. Just slightly larger than our very own planet’s moon, Io is the many volcanically energetic place in the solar system. Its thin setting is made up largely of sulfur oxides. As Io orbits, neutral gas particles escape that is atmosphere and also collide through electrons, providing rise to a donut-shaped cloud the ionized particles about Jupiter, known as the Io plasma torus.

You are watching: Source of ionized gas in the donut shaped

Exactly just how those neutral gases escape Io’s atmosphere is not well understood, however. Previous researches have presented that most atomic oxygen and also sulfur escape Io’s setting by colliding through energetic particles, such as torus ions, which bang the particles out of the environment in a process known as atomic sputtering. Few of the corpuscle escape indigenous Io’s gravity and form clouds of neutral sulfur and also oxygen. Right here Koga et al. provide brand-new insights right into the duty of the neutral cloud in the Io plasma torus.

The team took benefit of data built up by Japan’s Hisaki satellite, which launched in 2013 and also became the an initial space telescope to observe planets prefer Mars and Jupiter from earth orbit. The researchers provided spectrographic data from the excessive Ultraviolet Spectroscope because that Exospheric Dynamic (EXCEED) tool aboard the satellite to measure up atomic emissions at 130.4 nanometers around Io’s orbit. The dimensions were gathered over 35 days between November and December 2014, a reasonably calm volcanic period for the moon.

The authors uncovered that Io’s oxygen cloud has two distinctive regions: a dense area the spreads inside Io’s orbit, referred to as the “banana cloud,” and a much more diffuse region, which spreads all the method out come 7.6 Jovian radii (RJ). The team plugged the satellite observations right into an emissions version to calculation the atom oxygen number density. Lock found more oxygen within Io’s orbit than previously thought, through a peak thickness of 80 atoms every cubic centimeter in ~ a distance of 5.7 RJ. The team also calculated a resource rate the 410 kilograms per second, which is constant with ahead estimates.

See more: Subnautica Where To Find Fiber Mesh, Fiber Mesh (Below Zero)

This study offers the first good look at Io’s neutral cloud, which has historically been also dim come measure. Neutral particles from Io’s environment are among the main sources for charged particles in Jupiter’s substantial magnetosphere. Ultimately, the authors note, a far better understanding that the neutral cloud will provide important insights right into the gas giant’s magnetosphere. (Journal the Geophysical Research: space Physics, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JA025328, 2018)

—Kate Wheeling, Freelance Writer


Wheeling, K. (2018), The oxygen neutral cloud neighboring Jupiter’s volcanic moon, starrkingschool.net, 99, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018EO100631. Published on 20 June 2018.


Tagged: Io, Journal the Geophysical Research: room Physics, Magnetosphere interactions through satellites and also rings, Planetary magnetospheres, Space & Planets