Bruce Murray Space Image Library

Surface changes at Masubi, Io, between Galileo and New Horizons

Surface changes at Masubi, Io, between Galileo and New Horizons
Surface changes at Masubi, Io, between Galileo and New Horizons Image B is from Galileo and shows a long, dark lava flow emanating from the volcanic vent on Io called Masubi. In image C, from New Horizons, the previous flow has been obscured by a new, shorter flow and associated plume deposits. In image D, also from New Horizons, the old flow is visible again. NASA / JHUAPL / SwRI

How is this possible? The difference between the two New Horizons images is the solar phase angle, the direction from which the Sun is shining. The lava flow probably has a rough surface. When the Sun is high overhead, as in image C, New Horizons sees mostly the dust lying on the tops of the rough surfaces. When the Sun is coming from the side, as in image D, the rough surface of the older lava flow results in lots of shadowed areas, making the old lava flow visible under the frost.

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