CICLOPS: Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for OPerationS
Arizona-sized Io Eruption

Arizona-sized Io Eruption
PIA 00744

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These images of Jupiter's volcanic moon, Io, show the results of a dramatic event that occurred on the fiery satellite during a five-month period. The changes, captured by the solid state imaging (CCD) system on NASA's Galileo spacecraft, occurred between the time Galileo acquired the left frame, during its seventh orbit of Jupiter, and the right frame, during its tenth orbit. A new dark spot, 400 kilometers (249 miles) in diameter, which is roughly the size of Arizona, surrounds a volcanic center named Pillan Patera. Galileo imaged a 120 kilometer (75 mile) high plume erupting from this location during its ninth orbit. Pele, which produced the larger plume deposit southwest of Pillan, also appears different than it did during the seventh orbit, perhaps due to interaction between the two large plumes. Pillan's plume deposits appear dark at all wavelengths. This color differs from the very red color associated with Pele, but is similar to the deposits of Babbar Patera, the dark feature southwest of Pele. Some apparent differences between the images are not caused by changes on Io's surface, but rather are due to differences in illumination, emission and phase angles. This is particularly apparent at Babbar Patera.

North is to the top of the images. The left frame was acquired on April 4th, 1997, while the right frame was taken on Sept. 19th, 1997. The images were obtained at ranges of 563,000 kilometers (350,000 miles) for the left image, and 505,600 kilometers (314,165 miles) for the right.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA manages the Galileo mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, DC.

This image and other images and data received from Galileo are posted on the World Wide Web, on the Galileo mission home page at URL Background information and educational context for the images can be found at URL

Image Credit: NASA/JPL