The Pele plume (Io): Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope

John R. Spencer, Paola Sartoretti, Gilda E. Ballester, Alfred S. McEwen, John T. Clarke, Melissa A. McGrath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

In July 1996, with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), we observed the Pele plume silhouetted against Jupiter at a wavelength of 0.27 μm, the first definitive observation of an Io plume from Earth. The height, 420 ± 40 km, was greater than any plume observed by Voyager. The plume had significantly smaller optical depth at 0.34 and 0.41 μm, where it was not detected. The wavelength dependence of the optical depth can be matched by a plume either of fine dust, with minimum mass of 1.2 × 10 9 g and maximum particle size of 0.08 μm, or of SO 2 gas with a column density of 3.7 × 10 17 cm -2 and total mass of 1.1 × 10 11 g. Our models suggest that early Voyager imaging estimates of the minimum mass of the Loki plume [Collins, 1981] may have been too large by a factor of ∼ 100. We may have detected the Pele plume in reflected sunlight, at 0.27 μm, in July 1995, but did not see it 21 hours earlier, so the plume may be capable of rapid changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number97GL02592
Pages (from-to)2471-2474
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume24
Issue number20
StatePublished - 1997

Fingerprint

Io
Hubble Space Telescope
plumes
plume
optical thickness
optical depth
wavelength
sunlight
Jupiter (planet)
wavelengths
Jupiter
dust
particle size
estimates
gases
gas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Spencer, J. R., Sartoretti, P., Ballester, G. E., McEwen, A. S., Clarke, J. T., & McGrath, M. A. (1997). The Pele plume (Io): Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope. Geophysical Research Letters, 24(20), 2471-2474. [97GL02592].

The Pele plume (Io) : Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope. / Spencer, John R.; Sartoretti, Paola; Ballester, Gilda E.; McEwen, Alfred S.; Clarke, John T.; McGrath, Melissa A.

In: Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 24, No. 20, 97GL02592, 1997, p. 2471-2474.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Spencer, JR, Sartoretti, P, Ballester, GE, McEwen, AS, Clarke, JT & McGrath, MA 1997, 'The Pele plume (Io): Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope', Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 24, no. 20, 97GL02592, pp. 2471-2474.
Spencer JR, Sartoretti P, Ballester GE, McEwen AS, Clarke JT, McGrath MA. The Pele plume (Io): Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope. Geophysical Research Letters. 1997;24(20):2471-2474. 97GL02592.
Spencer, John R. ; Sartoretti, Paola ; Ballester, Gilda E. ; McEwen, Alfred S. ; Clarke, John T. ; McGrath, Melissa A. / The Pele plume (Io) : Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope. In: Geophysical Research Letters. 1997 ; Vol. 24, No. 20. pp. 2471-2474.
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