Ceres 300+ Bright Spots Shine Light On An Active World

If you could hop aboard NASA’s Dawn spacecraft and fly over the dwarf planet Ceres, it’s surface would look quite dark, about the same as an aged asphalt parking lot. But a closer look would reveal hundreds of bright spots. Ever since they were discovered in photos taken with the Dawn spacecraft, still in orbit about…
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New Movie Shows Ceres At ‘Full Moon’

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has taken thousands of photos of the dwarf planet Ceres, but these may be some of the weirdest. They were made on April 29, when Ceres was directly opposite the sun as seen from the spacecraft. In your mind’s eye picture a neat lineup in this order: sun – Dawn – Ceres. The…
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Is Ceres Still Spewing Haze, Oozing Brine?

New research on those bright spots inside Occator Crater on Ceres show they’re very young and may still be oozing briny lava. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) have closely examined the crater’s bright central pit domed by a deposit of mineral salt left over when brines rose to the…
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Life’s Building Blocks Found On Dwarf Planet Ceres

Organic molecules — those made primarily of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms — are essential for life as we know it.  Carbon is the coolest, most special atom of all. Not only can it link in multiple ways to other atoms, but it happily links with itself to form incredibly complex molecules, the kind that…
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Asteroid Vesta At Its Best — Here’s How To See It

Lately, I’ve talked about how to find planets, but there are lots of other planet-like bodies in the night sky — the asteroids. As of March 2016, we know of 1.3 million of them, 750,000 of which have calculated orbits. The name asteroid comes from “aster,” Latin for star, and it perfectly describes their star-like…
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