Disturbing the Universe

David L Clements, science and science fiction

The Possible Plumes of Europa

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Nice coverage of the HST observations of Europa by Peter Coles. I’m not a disinterested party here since we are observing Europa (and Enceladus) using a different approach to look for chemistry in these plumes. More news soon I hope!

In the Dark

I was too busy yesterday to write a post about the latest hot news from the NASA Hubble Space Telescope, so here’s a quick catch-up.

It seems that Europa, the smallest of the four Galilean moons of Jupiter, may from time to time be releasing “plumes” of water vapour. It has long been speculated that there might be large quantities of liquid water under Europa’s extremely smooth icy crust. Here’s a picture of possible plumes (to the bottom left of the image) in which a high-resolution picture of the surface of Europa has been superimposed.

europa Picture Credits: NASA/ESA/W. Sparks (STScI)/USGS Astrogeology Science Center

There’s also short video explaining the possible discovery here.

It’s not obvious at first sight that features like that shown above are caused by water erupting through Europa’s surface. On the face of it they could, for example, be caused by the impact of…

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Author: davecl

Astronomy, science, science fiction

One thought on “The Possible Plumes of Europa

  1. If it is water plumes then what is forcing the water out? Is the water under pressure? if so, what could be causing the rpessure? Any clues?

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