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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Linda Moulton Howe reports that the Principal Investigator for the Dawn space probe mission sent to the asteroid Ceres, Christopher Russell, Professor of Geophysics and Space Physics at UCLA cannot discuss the new high resolution images from Ceres because they have been embargoed by the science journal Nature. He may not discuss the images until after the journal publishes its article about them.
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As NASA’s Dawn spacecraft approached the dwarf planet, a bright spot that had been observed as long as 10 years ago by the Hubble Space Telescope came into sharper and sharper focus. But then what happened?

Listen as Linda Moulton Howe gets the latest information and thinking from NASA on what Ceres is, what the bright spot may be, and just when we will see close up imagery.

Right now, Dawn is orbiting the back side of the planetoid, but why didn’t we see any more detailed images during its initial approach?

What’s going on out there? Don’t miss this fascinating update!

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