Temperatures on Europa from Galileo Photopolarimeter-Radiometer: Nighttime Thermal Anomalies

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Science  28 May 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5419, pp. 1514-1516
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5419.1514

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Galileo observations of Europa's thermal emission show low-latitude diurnal brightness temperatures in the range of 86 to 132 kelvin. Nighttime temperatures form an unexpected pattern, with high temperatures on the bright ejecta blanket of the crater Pwyll and an equatorial minimum in temperatures after sunset, uncorrelated with surface albedo or geology. The nighttime anomalies may be due to regional thermal inertia variations of an unknown origin, which are equivalent to a two- to threefold variation in thermal conductivity, or to endogenic heat fluxes locally reaching 1 watt per square meter. Endogenic heat flow at this high level, although consistent with some geological evidence, is theoretically unlikely.

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