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December 27, 2016

Gemini tracks collapse of Io's atmosphere (Image 3)

Observations by the Gemini Observatory show that the thin atmosphere of Jupiter's moon Io undergoes dramatic changes during frequent daily eclipses with the giant planet. These changes in temperature appear to cause the moon's atmosphere to collapse during daily eclipses. In this graphic, part of a series of images by an artist depicting the atmospheric collapse of Io, in full eclipse, lo's atmosphere "collapses" as sulfer dioxide gas becomes frost on the moon's surface. The atmosphere redevelops when sunlight returns. [Image 3 of 3 related images. Back to Image 1.]

More about this image
To learn more, see the NSF News From the Field story Gemini tracks collapse of Io's atmosphere during frigid eclipses. (Date image taken: Aug. 2, 2016; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: Dec. 27, 2016)

Credit: Southwest Research Institute/Andrew Blanchard

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