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Active Volcanic Plumes on Io
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Active Volcanic Plumes on Io

September 26, 2003
This color image, acquired during Galileo's ninth orbit around Jupiter, shows two volcanic plumes on Io. One plume was captured on the bright limb or edge of the moon (see inset at upper right), erupting over a caldera (volcanic depression) named Pillan Patera after a South American god of thunder, fire and volcanoes. The plume seen by Galileo is 140 kilometers (86 miles) high and was also detected by the Hubble Space Telescope. The Galileo spacecraft will pass almost directly over Pillan Patera in 1999 at a range of only 600 kilometers (373 miles). The second plume, seen near the terminator (boundary between day and night), is called Prometheus after the Greek fire god (see inset at lower right). The shadow of the 75-kilometer (45- mile) high airborne plume can be seen extending to the right of the eruption vent. The vent is near the center of the bright and dark rings. Plumes on Io have a blue color, so the plume shadow is reddish.