Shedding Light on Ceres’ Darkest Secrets

Dec 19, 2016

Credit Wikipedia Commons

Astronomers with the University of Hawai‘i are a step closer to understanding the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres.

The planet is the largest body in our asteroid belt, and was originally thought to be covered in reflective salt.  Using a gamma ray and neutron detector, scientists found the surface is a porous mixture of rocky materials with ice in the cracks.

The research also supported the existence of ice inside craters that are not visible to the sun’s rays.  UH astronomer Norbert Schörghofer says results confirm predictions that ice can survive for billions of years just beneath the surface.   He adds that the evidence strengthens the case for the presence of near-surface water ice on other main belt asteroids and the moon.

More information can be found at the UH Institute for Astronomy website.