A dwarf planet, Ceres has long been the subject of astronomers’ interest. With a lack of detailed images of the object’s surface, we have not been able to explain some of its features. However, the recent pictures taken by NASA’s spacecraft have the potential to shed more light on Ceres’ fascinating nature and history.
The journey to solve some of Ceres’ mysteries
Since it reached Ceres in 2015, NASA’s spacecraft, Dawn has been trying to get closer to the surface of this dwarf planet. We have been getting pictures of the object from a distance, but only recently Dawn has gotten close enough to capture the surface of Ceres in great detail.
Thanks to the fact that the spacecraft was able to take a set of images from the altitude of just 22 miles above the dwarf planet, we can now attempt to explain the origin of some of its geographical features.
New images taken by Dawn have created an atmosphere of excitement amongst scientists, as they have been waiting for years to take a closer look at Ceres. According to the astronomers, the results of Dawn’s expedition exceeded their initial expectations.
What are the mysterious bright spots?
What the scientists have been especially anxious to see are the incredible bright spots. Thanks to Dawn’s detailed pictures, we are able to confirm that these structures are in fact large carbonate deposits that came to the surface due to geological activity. At the moment, the astronomers are unable to explain their origin, but the new data can help them with formulating new theories.
The scientists will now analyze the images in hope that the gathered data will allow them to learn more not only about the formation of these bright spots, but also about the origin of the dwarf planet Ceres itself.
Patrick Supernaw is the lead editor for Great Lakes Ledger. Patrick has written for many publications including The Huffington Post and Vanity Fair. Patrick is based in Ottawa and covers issues affecting his city. In addition to his severe hockey addiction, Pat also enjoys kayaking and can often be found paddling the Rideau Canal. Contact Pat here