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Space & Astronomy

Ceres bright spot mystery deepens further

By T.K. Randall
April 14, 2015 · Comment icon 237 comments



The latest findings have provided more questions than answers. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Infrared images of the dwarf planet have revealed that the bright spots seem to behave in different ways.
Of all the mysteries that Ceres has to offer by far the most intriguing is that of the mysterious bright spots that have been repeatedly observed and photographed on its surface.

During the Dawn probe's approach there was much speculation over what these anomalous bright areas could be with theories ranging from mineral deposits to water volcanoes. When Dawn arrived in orbit around Ceres it was hoped that it would quickly put an end to the mystery but if anything it has done the opposite.

The latest data from the probe's Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIR) has revealed that the bright spots don't even exhibit consistent properties with each behaving in a slightly different way. Of the two most visible spots, one is colder than its surroundings and the other is not.
"For sure, we have bright spots on the surface of Ceres which, at least from a thermal perspective, seem to behave in different ways," said Federico Tosi of Dawn's VIR team.

There were other susprises too - Ceres appears to be quite unlike its neighbor Vesta, which Dawn had previously visited, and also seems to be home to far fewer craters on its surface.

"When we compared the size of the craters on Ceres with those on Vesta, we're missing a number of large craters, the number we would expect," said Dawn principal investigator Christopher Russell.

It is hoped that the answers to these mysteries, along with many more, will be found over the coming months as the Dawn spacecraft continues to explore its new home.

Source: Yahoo! News | Comments (237)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #228 Posted by Occams Razor 7 years ago
Better still... there are also impact diamonds: https://en.wikipedia.../Popigai_crater According to this: https://en.wikipedia...s_(dwarf_planet) The composition of Ceres includes carbonates so maybe the bright spots are more likely to be diamonds. You'll have to figure out a way of getting there Astra. According to 'Waspie_Dwarf' Ceres is "a world made largely of salt water ice". If this is true it's unlikely ice is the cause of the bright spots as bright spots would be common all over the surface... it would look like it had shiny measles.
Comment icon #229 Posted by Merc14 7 years ago
Better still... there are also impact diamonds: https://en.wikipedia.../Popigai_crater According to this: https://en.wikipedia...s_(dwarf_planet) The composition of Ceres includes carbonates so maybe the bright spots are more likely to be diamonds. You'll have to figure out a way of getting there Astra. According to 'Waspie_Dwarf' Ceres is "a world made largely of salt water ice". If this is true it's unlikely ice is the cause of the bright spots as bright spots would be common all over the surface... it would look like it had shiny measles. I don't think you'd be getting either of those effec... [More]
Comment icon #230 Posted by Nnicolette 7 years ago
For once i agree with you merc there would have to be more than ice for the impact to have caused molten glass or Diamonds to form... and also they wouldnt still be sitting on top of the ice it would have at least melted in im guessing.
Comment icon #231 Posted by Merc14 7 years ago
For once i agree with you merc there would have to be more than ice for the impact to have caused molten glass or Diamonds to form... and also they wouldnt still be sitting on top of the ice it would have at least melted in im guessing. Come on NN, you agree with me ALL the time, you just won't admit it. I have to say that I am postulating here and if I am wrong then hopefully someone will chime in and set me/us straight but I can't see Ceres surface reacting like earth's desert to an impact. I'm thinking more like a frozen slushy with a dusty layer in an almost zero G, zero atmosphere, enviro... [More]
Comment icon #232 Posted by Astra- 7 years ago
The composition of Ceres includes carbonates so maybe the bright spots are more likely to be diamonds. Well that would make it one hell of an expensive crater - if that brilliant bright bling on Ceres are diamonds That's ok though - you are entitled to your opinion I'll stick with the possibility that the spots are a mixture of crystallized salt / ice at this time - especially since there are other bright - but less dense regions - in comparison to the crater. You'll have to figure out a way of getting there Astra. Why ? - I'd freeze to death
Comment icon #233 Posted by Occams Razor 7 years ago
For once i agree with you merc there would have to be more than ice for the impact to have caused molten glass or Diamonds to form... and also they wouldnt still be sitting on top of the ice it would have at least melted in im guessing. That's why I thought glass or diamonds... whatever it is will have to be pretty robust.
Comment icon #234 Posted by Occams Razor 7 years ago
That's ok though - you are entitled to your opinion No worries Astra... opinions are what forums are all about. Why ? - I'd freeze to death Because diamonds are a girl's best friend aren't they?
Comment icon #235 Posted by Astra- 7 years ago
Because diamonds are a girl's best friend aren't they? Well Marilyn Monroe might have thought so.But I'm a more pearls kinda gal
Comment icon #236 Posted by Hammerclaw 7 years ago
Well Marilyn Monroe might have thought so. But I'm a more pearls kinda gal But Diamonds are Forever! https://youtu.be/qPeSPB68i2c
Comment icon #237 Posted by Frank Merton 7 years ago
There are a lot of bizarre things it could be, but frozen brine seems most likely to me. As had been said so often, if you are in Kansas City and hear galloping animals out the window, don't assume zebra.


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