The clearest terrestrial image of Jupiter’s icy moons was recorded

Using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, scientists captured the clearest terrestrial image yet of Jupiter's icy moons Europa and Ganymede.

BingMag.com The clearest terrestrial image of Jupiter’s icy moons was recorded

Using the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, scientists captured the clearest terrestrial image yet of Jupiter's icy moons Europa and Ganymede.

While now the Juno spacecraft is transmitting valuable information about these two moons by flying around Jupiter, but ground telescopes They are also observing from a distance. Now, astronomers have released the clearest views ever taken of these Jupiter moons from Earth, revealing new insights into their chemical composition.

Observation of Jupiter's smallest Galilean moon, Europa ( Europa) shows that this icy world is about the same size as the Earth's moon, covered with water ice along with some non-icy external contaminants, some of which are probably from the neighboring moon, "Io" (Io), the only known extraterrestrial place with active volcanoes. thrown out.

BingMag.com The clearest terrestrial image of Jupiter’s icy moons was recorded

Jupiter's moon Europa as seen Terrestrial telescope

Oliver King from the University of Leicester's School of Physics and the lead author of the study, published in the Planetary Science Journal, said of the new images: "We "We mapped the distribution of various materials on the surface, including sulfuric acid frost, which is found mainly on the side of Europa that is heavily bombarded by Jupiter's surrounding gases," he added. Delsazi showed that various salts can exist on the surface, but infrared spectroscopy is usually not able to identify the type of salts alone." He divided the moon into two categories, including young water-rich surface features and old surface features with unknown compositions. Salts are also expected to fill the surface of this icy world.

BingMag.com The clearest terrestrial image of Jupiter’s icy moons was recorded

Jupiter's moon Europa from the perspective of a ground-based telescope

These icy moons of Jupiter were imaged in the infrared spectrum using the "SPHERE" instrument of the Very Large Telescope (ESO) of the European Southern Observatory located in Chile.

King said about this: This instrument has allowed us to do detailed mapping of Europa and Ganymede and to see features on their surfaces less than 150 km wide; While all of them are located at a distance of more than 600 million kilometers from the earth. Mapping with such precision was previously only possible by sending a spacecraft to Jupiter."

Ganymede is the only known moon with a magnetic field, and thus auroras or bright bands of gas can form around the poles of this moon.

Professor Leigh Fletcher, the lead author of the Ganymede study, is currently involved in two missions that will explore these moons: the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) and the Europa mission. NASA's Europa Clipper.

He noted the significance of the recent study, which was accepted in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets: It will enhance our future exploration of Jupiter's moons.

Cover photo: Europa and Ganymede as seen by the European Very Large Telescope
Credit: ESO/King & Fletcher

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