The atmosphere of Jupiter’s volcanically active satellite Io collapses as the giant gas planet shed its shadow over the moon’s surface during daily eclipse discovered by a team of astronomers led by Southwest Research Institute.
The findings showed that, when the moon is shadowed by Jupiter the thin atmosphere of Io, which is generally composed of sulphur dioxide gas emitted from volcanoes, fall down as the gas freezes onto the surface as ice.
The researchers analyzed the moon’s atmosphere using heat radiation and heat signatures to monitor the atmospheric changes of Io. The researchers revealed even though the hyperactive volcanoes on Io work as the ultimate source of sulphur dioxide, the sunlight controls the atmospheric pressure of the moon every day by controlling the temperature of the ice on the surface.
As per the observation Io’s temperature collapses when the temperature drops from -235 degree Fahrenheit in sunlight to -270 degrees Fahrenheit during eclipse. During the full moon eclipse the temperature considerably collapses as most of the sulphur dioxide freezes onto the surface. Io’s atmosphere improves as moon returns to full sunlight, warming up the surface.
Io is believed to be the most volcanically active object in the solar system. Tidal heating is the gravitational pull interaction between Io and Jupiter, this gives rise to volcanic activity on the moon. Io emits gases that fill out Jupiter’s atmosphere, seeding some of the auroral features seen on Jupiter’s pole.