|Picture Scramble # 70
||3 January 2000
Cassini at Jupiter
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Jupiter's four largest satellites, including
Io, the golden ornament
in front of Jupiter in this image, have fascinated Earthlings ever
since Galileo Galilei discovered them in 1610 in one of his first
astronomical uses of the telescope.
The entire body of Io, about the size of Earth’s
Moon, is periodically
flexed as it speeds around Jupiter and feels, as a result of
its non-circular orbit, the periodically changing gravitational pull
of the planet. The heat arising in Io's interior from this continual
flexure makes it the most volcanically active body in the solar system,
with more than 100 active volcanoes.
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