Europa Plumes! Looking at Past Galileo Data

Like this content? Please consider becoming a patron: https://patreon.com/DeepAstronomy Astronomers were enthusiastic but cautious about the Hubble observations that suggested Europa had water plumes ejected from its icy surface. Every telescope obs

597 Views | Published on 18th May, 2018

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Astronomers were enthusiastic but cautious about the Hubble observations that suggested Europa had water plumes ejected from its icy surface. Every telescope observation of these eruptions was at the limit of detection. Then, it was suggested that that a thermal signature had been recorded by the Galileo satellite years before, right at the corresponding position on Europa's surface. Now, digging through the archives of Galileo, a team has carefully re-analyzed the data and discovered that the satellite may actually have flown through a plume. Europa's icy surface likely is a crust over a global ocean. Through cracks in that surface, water can spew out in a huge plume. As a result of a re-analysis of Galileo's measurements combined with a model including constraints of the plumes observed by Hubble, it appears as though Galileo flew through a similar plume in 1997. Thus it seems there is strong independent evidence of the presence of plumes at Europa.

Join Tony Darnell and Carol Christian during Afternoon Astronomy Coffee on May 24 at 3PM Eastern time as they discuss with the investigators, Xianzhe Jia (U Michigan), Margaret Kivelson and Krishan Khurana (UCLA), and William Kurth (U Iowa) how they combed the Galileo archive and what their analysis yielded.

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