22 mar. 2016

Dwarf Planet Ceres May Be Showing Signs of Daily Geological Activity

Some of our smallest astronomical neighbors just keep getting odder and odder: recent observations of the bright spots found on dwarf planet Ceres have shown them to be brightening and dimming over the course of it's 9-hour day.

The spots, made of a briny mixture containing magnesium sulfate hexahydrite, appears to be upwelling in certain spots from below the former asteroid's surface. The spots have been found to emit a haze, indicating that the water in the material is evaporating into space, leaving the pale minerals deposited on Ceres' dark surface.

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