volcanic plume visible over the limb of the moon Io
Source: NASA/JPL/DLR
Published: August 28, 2018

NASA's Galileo spacecraft caught Jupiter's moon Io, the planet’s third-largest moon, undergoing a volcanic eruption.

Locked in a perpetual tug of war between the imposing gravity of Jupiter and the smaller, consistent pulls of its neighboring moons, Io’s distorted orbit causes it to flex as it swoops around the gas giant. The stretching causes friction and intense heat in Io’s interior, sparking massive eruptions across its surface.

ENLARGE

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