IO’s Natural Radiation Emission-1

IO, one of the moons of Jupiter, the planet which is the largest planet in our solar system. Also IO is the first moon of the Jupiter that is discovered, Galileo Galilei could not reach any findings about its structure when he discovered the IO.

In the universe we know, it is one of the most different celestial bodies among all the celestial bodies we have detected. The reason for this difference is not just the image of the IO.

Main Distinctive Features of IO;

• Being the most intense active volcanic area known,
• Very quickly repairing the destruction on the surface due to the atmospheric and topographic structure,
• The surface structure is constantly changing,
• It has properties such as having a very short circulation period, for example a fraction of 4/13 of a day.

However, in addition to all of these, the most distinguishing feature of the IO is its radioactive behavior. This radioactivity occurs for several reasons. The two most important reasons are the presence of more than 100 active volcanoes on the surface of IO and its presence in the radioactive area of Jupiter.

The fact that the IO is very close to Jupiter is thought to have implications for the formation of IO. To briefly mention these effects, as a result of the models made, it was concluded that the IO was formed in the region where there is a lot of ice around Jupiter.It is also thought that volcanic activities began to occur on the IO simultaneously with the removal of the water from the surface. IO is the only celestial body that we know of to have active volcanoes outside of Earth, because it is still inside the radioactive region of Jupiter.

Jovian Magnetosphere - Doğal Radyasyon Emisyonu

Image-1. Jovian magnetosphere. (Image Credit: Edwards, T.M.; Bunce, E.J.; Cowley, S.W.H. (2001)

Radiation Emission

When we examine the effect of Jupiter’s radioactivity on its other moons, it can be seen that there are remarkable effects on Europa. What makes Europa special is that, despite Jupiter’s radioactive effects, it has kept ice and oceans on its surface without any volcanic activity on its surface.

The reason for this important difference; despite Jupiter’s radioactivity, Europa, unlike IO, did not show a development where its internal dynamics changed, but it keeps high-energy particles falling on it due to radiation. It can be said that this situation affects not only the IO but also other moons of Jupiter radioactively, but due to its own characteristics, the IO reacts to this radioactive effect much differently than other moons. As can be seen, this causes Jupiter’s IO moon to appear duller and fainter than its other three Galilean moons. Considering the radioactivity of Jupiter, the time-dependent change of the IO has not only been superficial changes such as the loss of water and ice, its color and brightness, but also more extensive changes affecting its internal structure. This situation caused the IO to evolve as the only extraterrestrial celestial body that we know of in the universe with volcanic activity other than Earth.

Jupiter's moons

Image-2. Jupiter’s moons. (Image Credit: NASA)

The radioactivity of Jupiter’s IO is due to two main reasons. The first of these two main reasons; the IO is located in the most intense region in the radioactive area of Jupiter, as shown in Picture-1. Since the IO is constantly exposed to high radiation in its region, changes have occurred in its internal structure due to high radiation over time, and as a result, the IO has evolved into a structure that will support radioactivity in its internal structure.

The second cause is parallel and even linked to the primary cause. In March 1979, Stanton Jerrold Peale and colleagues hypothesized that because the IO is not perfectly circular, the gravitational forces of Jupiter and other Galilean moons have “stretched” enough of the interior to produce active surface volcanoes.Just a week after this proposition, the first volcanic cloud was detected in an image taken from the Voyager 1 spacecraft, and dozens of volcanic activities have since been detected by both space probes and the Hubble Space Telescope.

In time lava flows and lava lakes were detected in images taken from Voyager. Later, opinions were put forward that the lava lakes and streams examined may have been beds that were previously filled with water, but they have not been proven yet. However, there are important issues that we know for sure about the lava and its effect on IO.

The most important information we have about the radioactivity and volcanic activities of the IO is what we have obtained from IO’s atmosphere and terrestrial layer surface. Since there is abundant volcanic activity on the IO surface, frequent explosive eruptions are triggered by the emission of sulfur dioxide gas; as a result, the surface is irregularly colored with yellow, orange, red and black areas. These colored areas are caused by sulfur dioxide. In this case, it can be said that the colored areas formed on the IO are also due to radioactivity.

In order to explain the relationship between radioactivity and IO structure, it is sufficient to examine the Loki volcano. Loki volcano is also known as the largest volcano located on IO. Moreover, Loki volcano is the largest and most powerful volcano we know of in our Solar system, emitting more heat than all of Earth’s active volcanoes combined. Due to the presence of such a powerful volcano on IO and the radioactive activities of both IO and Jupiter, a strong flux tube bond has formed between IO and Jupiter. This magnetic bond has a significant effect on the Jovian radio emission. This radio emission can be shown as the main reason for the formation of the characteristic features of IO due to the radioactive bond between Jupiter and the IO.

To sum up, the IO, which is the closest moon to Jupiter, has remained in Jupiter’s coldest and the most radioactive area at the same time since its formation. For this reason, IO, which was quite cold at first, warmed over time and later became home to the only extraterrestrial volcanoes we know.During this time, its surface was covered with different colors and became dull due to radiation. As a result, he had a unique exterior and volcanoes that set him apart from everything we know in the universe. All these characteristic features of IO are the natural emission of radiation between them and Jupiter.

Beğen  22

Ege Üniversitesi - Astronomi ve Uzay Bilimleri öğrencisi. Dünyadaki Mars Projesi köşe yazarı. (Ege University - Astronomy and Space Sciences Student. Mars on Earth Project Columnist.)

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