Organic Compounds Found on Ceres

organics-on-ceresThis enhanced color image was made with data from the Dawn spacecraft. It shows the area around a crater on the dwarf planet Ceres named Ernutet. The areas which show up as bright red are associated with evidence of organic material. Organic molecules are interesting to scientists because they are necessary, though not sufficient, components of life on Earth. This discovery adds to the growing list of bodies in the solar system where organic molecules have been found.

Image Credit: NASA

The F Ring

f-ringWhen seen in closeup as in this recent image taken by the Cassini spacecraft, Saturn’s F resolves into multiple dusty strands. This view shows three bright strands and a fainter fourth strand on the right.

The bright center strand is the actual core of the F ring. If the view were from farther out, it would show that the other strands are not independent but are sections of long spirals of material that wrap around the core as they all circle Saturn. It’s thought that the material in the spirals may have been dragged out from the F ring’s core during encounters with a small moon.

Image Credit: NASA