Friday, February 5, 2010

Io Basics

Have you come to this blog looking for basic information on Io?  Well many of the posts here may seem a bit overwhelming without a bit of understanding of the main topic, Jupiter's moon Io.  In this post, I have organized a list of link that will be helpful to new visitors, as well as a list of overview posts that highlight the latest in Io science:

Overview of Io

Io is the innermost of the four large moons of Jupiter known as the Galilean satellites.  Io is a little larger than the Earth's moon but has a surface that couldn't be more different.  While the ancient surface of our moon is dominated by impact craters and large basalt "mare" provinces that are 3-4 billion years old, Io's surface is continuously being renewed, with more than 400 volcanic depressions known as a paterae and more than 130 mountains, the vast majority of which are created by tremendous compressional stresses in Io's crust.  The engine for this violent volcanic activity is tidal heating.  Io's orbit is slightly eccentric and Jupiter's gravitational pull on Io varies over the course of an Ionian day.  The moons Europa and Ganymede help to prevent Io from circularizing its orbit, keeping the heat engine in Io's mantle running.

For more information on Io and its volcanism, check out the following links:
From the Blog

While generally I post articles related to recent news or the latest papers, from time to time I also post articles that provide an overview of a topic of Ionian research, whether it is on the formation of Io's volcanoes or the composition of its surface.  I believe these articles are of the most interest to new readers, so I've listed a few of them here:
I hope you all enjoy you visit to the Gish Bar Times!

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