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Planetary Science Seminar

Tuesday, May 3, 2016
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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South Mudd 365
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.
For more information, please contact Chris Spalding by email at cspaldin@caltech.edu.