NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is monitoring the volcanically active moon Io in support of the February 28 New Horizons spacecraft flyby of Jupiter. These images were taken with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 on February 14, 2007. The left image, taken in natural color, reveals orange oval deposits of sulfur around the Pele volcano, and other familiar surface features on Io, which is innermost of the Galilean satellites.
The ultraviolet image on the right shows a big plume rising above the surface, not far from the north pole. Though Io is no bigger than Earth's geologically dead Moon, Io's interior is kept molten due to the gravitational tug of Jupiter and the other Galilean satellites.
Hubble will continue to photograph Io, as well as Jupiter over the next month, as the New Horizons spacecraft flies past Jupiter. New Horizons is en route to Pluto, and made its closest approach to Jupiter on February 28, 2007.
Through combined remote imaging by Hubble and in situ measurements by New Horizons, the two missions will enhance each other scientifically, allowing scientists to learn more about the Jovian atmosphere, the aurorae, and Jupiter's charged-particle environment and its interaction with the solar wind.
Credit: NASA, ESA, J. Spencer and K. Jessup, (Southwest Research Institute), and the Space Telescope Science Institute
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The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. The Institute is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., Washington.