A massive volcanic eruption was observed on Jupiter’s moon Io in the Fall of 2022 by Jeff Morghentaler from Planetary Science Institute.
Io, one of Jupiter’s largest moons, is the solar system’s most volcanic entity with its extreme conditions.
Its outbursts of volcanism are influenced by the tremendous gravitational impact of Jupiter.
As the largest planet in the solar system, the gravity of Jupiter, along with two of the other large Jovian moons, produces strong tidal forces within Io.
This condition stretches and squeezes Io; hence, extreme volcanic activity occurs.
The Io Input/Output Observatory (IoIO) of PSI, located in Arizona, has been observing Io since 2017.
The instrument can image faint gases near the gas giant since it dims the light coming from Jupiter.
Therefore, Morghentaler could spot the brightening part in a cloud around Jupiter that started between July and September 2022.
Ionized sulfur that surrounds Jupiter also brightened during the Fall of 2022.
Morghentaler explained this condition shows the composition of the volcanic activity.
NASA also released the Juno spacecraft, which has been orbiting Jupiter since 2016 and is set to fly close to Io in December 2023.
So, Juno could explain to astronomers if the volcanic eruption of Fall 2022 contained a different chemical makeup than other eruptions.
However, Morghentaler hopes more versions of IoIO could exist across the globe.