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Iofs volcanism seen by The University of Tokyo Atacama 1-m Telescope, Huge volcanism on a small body detected at a mid-infrared wavelength (pressreleased: 2014/6/19)

Io, one of the most remarkable moons of Jupiter, is also known as the most volcanically active body in the solar system. Its volcanism is variable, and has been monitored by detecting near infrared thermal emissions since Iofs volcanic thermal emission peaks at near infrared wavelengths. However, there is significant difficulty in near infrared observations of Io because reflected solar flux on Iofs surface is not negligible. Although mid-infrared wavelength is differs from the wavelength where the volcanic thermal emission peaks, the mid-infrared flux from Io is dominated by emissions from volcanic hotspots while the reflected solar flux is not dominant. Professors Y. Yoshii, T. Miyata (Institute of Astronomy, the University of Tokyo) and Dr. M. Yoneda (Graduate School of Science, Tohoku University / Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii ) made mid-infrared observations of Io at The University of Tokyo Atacama Observatory using a 1-m telescope and mid-infrared camera called MAX38. The data obtained in 2010 and 2011 at 8.9 microns showed that Daedalus Patera, one of the volcanic hotspots on Io, enhanced in 2011. They estimated the energy radiated from Daedalus Patera in the corresponding period was 10^13 W. It can be said that the volcanism seen in Daedalus Patera belongs to the most powerful volcanic hotspots on Io, and in the solar system as well. While past studies used data from spacecraft or large telescopes to reveal Iofs volcanism the telescope used in this work has a diameter of only 1 meter. This work showed potential of modest-sized telescopes in fields of planetary science.

Press release (Japanese)

Mid-infrared images of Io obtained at three different Iofs central meridian longitudes using a 1-m telescope at the Univeristy of Tokyo Atacama Observatory. The image seen at a longitude of 277 deg is brightest, and this means there is a active volcanic hotspot around this longitude. ©TAO Project


Mizuki Yoneda, Takashi Miyata, Shigeyuki Sako, Takafumi Kamizuka, Tomohiko Nakamura, Kentaro Asano, Mizuho Uchiyama, Kazushi Okada, Yuzuru Yoshii, et al. gMid-infrared observations of Iofs volcanism from the ground in2011 and 2012hICARUS, July 1 2014