The Near Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (NIMS) on the Galileo spacecraft imaged Io at high spectral resolution at a range of 439,000 km (275,000 miles) during the G2 encounter on 7 September 1996. This image shows (on the right) Io as seen in the infrared by NIMS. The image on the left shows the same view from Voyager in 1979. This NIMS image can be compared to the NIMS images from the G1 orbit (June 1996) to monitor changes on Io. The NIMS image is at 4.9 microns, showing thermal emissions from the hotspots. The brightness of the pixels is a function of size and temperature.
At least 10 hotspots have been identified and can be matched with surface features. An accurate determination of the position of the hotspot in the vicinity of Shamash Patera is pending. Hotspots are seen in the vicinity of Prometheus, Volund and Marduk, all sites of volcanic plume activity during the Galileo encounters, and also of active plumes in 1979. Temperatures and areas have been calculated for the hotspots shown. Temperatures range from 828 K (1031 F) to 210 K (- 81.4 F). The lowest temperature is significantly higher than the Io background (non-hotspot) surface temperature of about 100 K (-279 F). Hotspot areas range from 6.5 square km (2.5 sq miles) to 40,000 sq km (15,400 sq miles). The hottest hotspots have smallest areas, and the cooler hotspots have the largest areas. NIMS is continuing to observe Io to monitor volcanic activity throughout the Galileo mission.
The Galileo mission is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C.
This image and other images and data received from Galileo are posted on the Galileo mission home page on the World Wide Web at http://galileo.jpl.nasa.gov.