Tuesday, May 3, 2016
South Mudd 365
Planetary Science Seminar
The Volcanism, Atmosphere, and Tidal Heating of Io: A Multi-Year Observing Campaign
Katherine deKleer, Department of Astronomy, UC Berkeley
Tidal heating is a major driver of geological activity on rocky bodies in the Solar System, and may play an important role in many exoplanets. On Io, the effects of tidal heating are clearly observable in the form of large-scale volcanism, making it an ideal laboratory for studying this process. I will present an ongoing observing campaign aimed at understanding Io's volcanic activity, including its connection to the atmosphere and to tidal heat dissipation. In 2013-2016 we observed Io on 100+ nights with adaptive optics on the Keck and Gemini N telescopes, making hundreds of detections of thermal emission from individual active volcanic sites. Observations of bright outburst eruptions indicate extreme effusion rates, while the spatial distribution of activity during this period reveals significant asymmetries and deviates from current tidal heating model predictions. Ground-based programs of this nature are complementary to spacecraft missions; I will discuss how these observations, in combination with results from the EXCEED and Juno missions, can provide insight into the impact of Io's volcanism on the jovian plasma system.