Jupiter's icy moon Europe has a chaotic surface terrain that is cracked and cracked, suggesting a long history of geological…
Jupiter’s icy moon Europe has a chaotic surface terrain that is cracked and cracked, suggesting a long history of geological activity.
A new series of four images of Europe taken with Atacama Large Millimeter / submillimeter Array (ALMA) has helped astronomers to create the first global thermal map of this cold satellite in Jupiter, as reported by the observatory.
“Since Europe is a marine activity with potential geological activity, its surface temperatures are of great interest because they can limit the locations and extensions of such activities,” said Samantha Trumbo, a planet science researcher at the California Institute of Technology and author of the paper entitled ” ALMA Thermal Observations of Europe, published in the Astrophysical Journal.
The researchers compared the new ALMA observations from Europe to a thermal model based on observations from Galileo spacecraft.
This comparison allows them to analyze temperature changes in data and construct the first global map of Europe’s heat characteristics.
The new data also revealed a mysterious cold spot on Europe’s northern hemisphere.
Evidence suggests Europe has under the sea’s thin vines of ice a sea of brown water in contact with a rocky core.
Europe also has a relatively young area, only about 20 to 1
80 million years, indicating that there are still unidentified thermal or geological processes at work.
Series of 4 images on the Europa surface taken with ALMA, enabling astronomers to create the first global thermal map of Jupiter’s icy moon. (Credit: ALMA)
Unlike optical telescopes, which can only detect sunlight reflected by the planet bodies, radiotelephone and millimeter telescopes like ALMA can detect the thermal “glow” naturally emitted by even cold objects in our solar system, including comets, asteroids and moons.
At its warmest temperature, Europe’s surface temperature does not rise above minus 160 degrees Celsius (minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit).
The new images have a resolution of about 200 kilometers, enough to study the relationship between surface heat variations and the great geological characteristics of the moon.
” Studying Europe’s thermal properties gives a unique way of understanding its surface “, says Bryan Butler, an astronomer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Socorro, New Mexico, and co-author of the paper.
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