Three Giant Volcanic Eruptions Rock Jupiter's "Pizza Moon"
Jupiter's "pizza moon" lo was rocked by three powerful volcanic eruptions, which were the brightest in the Solar System, a new study has reported.
The Gemini Observatory captured images of the volcanic eruptions on August 29, 2013, that showed its magnitude and intensity.
Scientists said the eruption was the "grand finale" of a series of eruptions that occurred in the fourth largest moon of Jupiter.
According to the study, the volcanism was the result of tidal heating, caused by the friction inside the interior of the moon.
"We typically expect one huge outburst every one or two years, and they're usually not this bright," said Imke de Pater, professor and chair of astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley and lead author of one of two papers describing the eruptions. "Here we had three extremely bright outbursts, which suggest that if we looked more frequently we might see many more of them on Io."
Researchers used the data provided by the images captured to monitor and observe the eruptions during its first two weeks.
The first volcanic activity on the 'pizza planet' was observed in 1979 by a passing spacecraft. According to researchers, there might be around 150 active volcanoes out of 400.
The study is detailed in the Aug.5 issue of Icarus.