Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.
2007 April 4
Explanation: Spewed from a volcano, a complex plume rises over 300 kilometres above the horizon of Jupiter's moon Io in this image from cameras onboard the New Horizons spacecraft. The volcano, Tvashtar, is marked by the bright glow (about 1 o'clock) at the moon's edge, beyond the terminator or night/day shadow line. The shadow of Io cuts across the plume itself. Also capturing stunning details on the dayside surface, the high resolution image was recorded when the spacecraft was 2.3 million kilometres from Io. Later it was combined with lower resolution colour data by astro-imager Sean Walker to produce this sharp portrait of the solar system's most active moon. Outward bound at almost 23 kilometres per second, the New Horizons spacecraft should cross the orbit of Saturn in June next year, and is ultimately destined to encounter Pluto in 2015.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.