The Year of the Dwarf Planets

In March, Dawn will encounter Ceres. In July, New Horizons will fly by Pluto.20150113_Dawn

The Dawn spacecraft observed Ceres for an hour on 13 January, 2015, from a distance of 383,000 km. A little more than half of its surface was recorded. This animated GIF shows bright and dark features.

Image Credit: NASA

4 thoughts on “The Year of the Dwarf Planets

  1. “Bouncing” white spot in upper left? What is that? Someone get NUFORC on the line!

    Never mind. RESEARCH!

    “Planetary scientists have long suspected that water ice may be buried under Cere’s crust. A few things point to subsurface ice: the density of Ceres is less than that of the Earth’s crust, and because the surface bears spectral evidence of water-bearing minerals. Scientists estimate that if Ceres were composed of 25 percent water, it may have more water than all the fresh water on Earth. Ceres’ water, unlike Earth’s, would be in the form of water ice and located in the mantle, which wraps around the asteroid’s solid core.”

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