Saturday, January 16, 2016
Dwarf planet Ceres: water vapor in Occator crater
Dwarf planet Ceres: water vapor in Occator crater:
When the Sun shines into the Occator crater on the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres, a kind of thin haze appears above its brightest spot. This can be seen in images taken by the camera system aboard NASA's Dawn space probe, which researchers under the lead of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research published on 9 December, 2015 in Nature magazine.
The haze indicates that frozen water may exist near the surface . The bright spots in the Occator crater likely contain magnesium sulphates, a class of mineral salts. Many of the other bright areas on Ceres' surface most likely by now consist solely of dried mineral salts. The new results show that since the birth of the Solar System frozen water has been able to survive not only in its furthest reaches, but also in the comparatively close asteroid belt.