add
add

Menu

Ceres – criovulcanism or sublimation?


Water vapors are present around Ceres. A team of researchers is using satellite data from ESA, Herschel. Ceres is the goal of the U.S. spacecraft Dawn: “These directions are the reason for why Ceres has been chosen as the scientific objective of Dawn. Confirmation by the Herschel team inspires us and strengthens our choice,” said Maria Cristina De Sanctis, PI instrument VIR probe Dawn.

ceres

Artistic impression of Ceres

Credit: NASA/ESA/JPL

Water vapor around Ceres. This is what a team of researchers has found using satellite data from Herschel.

Astronomers have found that the emission occurs from two sources quite localized, similar to “giant geysers”. The hypothesis put forward to explain the phenomenon; there are two possibilities: either the sublimation of the ice into water vapor (as comets that approach the Sun) or an example of criovulcanism, or eruptions of volatile elements such as water.

At the moment it seems certain that emissions of steam – 6 pounds per second – occurs when Ceres is at perihelion, which would favor the theory of sublimation of ice, and the fact that criovulcanism should result in emission distributed independent of the distance from the Sun.

Ceres is the goal of the U.S. spacecraft Dawn that was launched in 2007 and after visiting the asteroid Vesta – the second largest asteroid in the solar system – should join it in February 2015.

“First of all there is to say that since the early ’90s, thanks to the data EUI (International Ultraviolet Explorer), we had the marginal notes, never confirmed in a definitive manner, the presence of water on Ceres,” says Maria Cristina De Sanctis, PI VIR spectrometer built by INAF – IAPS Rome and aboard the Dawn spacecraft. “These indications are supported by other observational evidence, such as strong spectral signs of the presence of water ice and theoretical models of the interior, which provide the oceans beneath the surface, are the reason that Ceres has been chosen as the scientific objective of Dawn. The confirmation by the Herschel team inspires us and strengthens our choice.”

ceres_br

 

Hubble Space Telescope images of Ceres helped scientists determine it was unique from other objects in the asteroid belt.

 

Source: www.nasa.gov

Ceres – discovered in 1801 by the Italian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi – is in fact a “dwarf planet” with its 960 km in diameter. It is believed that it is composed of a rocky core surrounded by a thick layer of ice, like many comets, in fact, the collision with the celestial bodies – comets and asteroids – rich water would be at the origin of Earth’s oceans.

“When Dawn arrives at Ceres, it will meet at aphelion, or the farthest point in its orbit from the Sun. If, as seems to indicate the observations so far, the activity of the water jets is linked to the position along the orbit, namely that occur when Ceres is located closer to the Sun, we do not expect to see a close up. What we expect is to reconstruct a detailed map of the area and to find out the formation mechanism of these jets of water.”

Related Posts

  • A crater for AngiolettaA crater for Angioletta Breaking one rule that was established by naming the craters of the asteroid Vesta in female personalities of the ancient Roman world, the […]
  • Dawn approaches to CeresDawn approaches to Ceres This dwarf planet is the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and is also one of the most enigmatic. Among the […]
  • Dirty Snowballs Of DoomDirty Snowballs Of Doom Throughout history, comets have fascinated human beings, inspiring both awe and fear, and they have often been omens of doom, or curse, or […]
  • How much water around DG Tau!How much water around DG Tau! Thanks to the observations of the space telescope Herschel ESA a large amount of water vapor had been discovered in the disc around a […]
  • NASA Invites Public to Send Artwork to an AsteroidNASA Invites Public to Send Artwork to an Asteroid NASA is calling all space enthusiasts to send their artistic endeavors on a journey aboard NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *