Jupiter’s moon Io continues to be the most volcanically active body in the solar system, as documented by the longest series of frequent, high-resolution observations of the moon’s thermal emission ever obtained.
Using near-infrared adaptive optics on two of the world’s largest telescopes– the 10-meter Keck II and the 8-meter Gemini North, both located near the summit of the dormant volcano Maunakea in Hawaii – University of California, Berkeley astronomers tracked 48 volcanic hotspots on the surface over a period of 29 months from August 2013 through the end of 2015.
Without adaptive optics – a technique that removes the atmospheric blur to sharpen the image – Io is merely a fuzzy ball. Adaptive optics can separate features just a few hundred kilometers apart on Io’s 3,600-kilometer-diameter surface. … (Keck)