Astronomy Picture of the Day
January 16, 2013

Shamshu Mons and surroundings
Shamshu Mons and surroundings

Credits: NASA/JPL/Univ. of Arizona - Galileo Project - Credits for the additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/Lunar Explorer Italia/IPF

This mosaic of images that were taken by the NASA - Galileo Spacecraft on February 22, 2000, shows us 3 (three) Mountains and 2 (two) Lava-filled Surface Depressions located within the Shamshu Region of the Jovian moon Io. The dark and almost oval Surface Feature visible on the left side of the image is a Depression that has been resurfaced (---> made more visible) by Lava Flows. The rough and elevated Terrain located towards the North/East of the Depression, instead, is Shamshu Mons; it is very interesting to notice that an approx. 10-Km (such as about 6,2 miles) wide Canyon, oriented North/East to South/West, clearly cuts through the whole length Mountain. The North/Western Edge of Shamshu Mons has obviously been scalloped by erosion, and it appears that the eroded Material has, at some point, fallen and - perhaps - flown along the Canyon's Floor.

Portions of 2 (two) more Mountains can also be seen on the right side of the picture. The very wide Surface Depression located between these Mountains is Shamshu Patera: a Volcanic Hot Spot. The dark patches within the Patera are recent and still active Lava Flows. Furthermore, the Northernmost Edge of Shamshu Patera appears to be cutting into the Mountain towards its North/East.

North is towards the top of the picture and the Sun illuminates the Surface of Io from the West. This mosaic has a resolution of about 345 meters (such as 1130 feet) per picture element and it covers an area approximately 390 by 380 Km (such as about 242 by 236 miles) at its maximum extent. The mosaic is centered at about South Latitude and 68° West Longitude. The images that make up this mosaic were acquired at an average distance of 34.500 Km (such as about 21.424 miles) from Io, by Galiileo's onboard Camera.

This picture (which is an Original NASA - Galileo Orbiter b/w image mosaic published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 02555) has been additionally processed and then colorized in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Galileo Orbiter and then looked down, towards the Surface of the Jovian moon Io), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team. Different colors, as well as different shades of the same color, mean, among others, the existence of different Elements present on the Surface of Io, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.

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