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Arizona-sized Io Eruption
9 of 88

Arizona-sized Io Eruption

September 26, 2003
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.


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