Ceres

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Dawn Mission: Ceres (NASA/JPL)
Dawn Mission (NASA/JPL)
Dawn Spacecraft (Wikipedia)

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Solar System Exploration: Ceres (NASA)

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Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt that lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, slightly closer to Mars’ orbit. Its diameter is approximately 945 kilometers (587 miles), making it the largest of the minor planets within the orbit of Neptune. It is the 33rd-largest known body in the Solar System and the only dwarf planet within the orbit of Neptune. Ceres is composed of rock and ice and is estimated to comprise approximately one third of the mass of the entire asteroid belt. Ceres is the only object in the asteroid belt known to be rounded by its own gravity (though detailed analysis was required to exclude 4 Vesta). From Earth, the apparent magnitude of Ceres ranges from 6.7 to 9.3, peaking once every 15 to 16 months, hence even at its brightest it is too dim to be seen with the naked eye except under extremely dark skies.

Ceres was the first asteroid to be discovered (by Giuseppe Piazzi at Palermo Astronomical Observatory on 1 January 1801). It was originally considered a planet, but was reclassified as an asteroid in the 1850s after many other objects in similar orbits were discovered.

Ceres appears to be differentiated into a rocky core and an icy mantle, and may have a remnant internal ocean of liquid water under the layer of ice. The surface is a mixture of water ice and various hydrated minerals such as carbonates and clay. In January 2014, emissions of water vapor were detected from several regions of Ceres. This was unexpected because large bodies in the asteroid belt typically do not emit vapor, a hallmark of comets.

The robotic NASA spacecraft Dawn entered orbit around Ceres on 6 March 2015. Pictures with a resolution previously unattained were taken during imaging sessions starting in January 2015 as Dawn approached Ceres, showing a cratered surface. — Wikipedia

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Phys.org - latest science and technology news stories Phys.org internet news portal provides the latest news on science including: Physics, Nanotechnology, Life Sciences, Space Science, Earth Science, Environment, Health and Medicine.

  • Smart collar to track your pet in real-time
    on November 5, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    CSIRO's Data61, the digital specialist arm of Australia's national science agency, announced today it is developing a prototype smart pet collar in collaboration with agtech company Ceres Tag, that will enable pet owners to accurately track the location of their animal from a short and long distance, filling a gap in the smart collar market.

  • Meteorite study calls into doubt a popular theory...
    on September 16, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    It is generally accepted that the inner region of the early solar system was subject to an intense period of meteoric bombardment referred to as the late heavy bombardment. However, researchers have found evidence that suggests this period occurred slightly earlier than thought and was less intense but also more prolonged. Such details about this period could impact theories about the early Earth and the dawn of life.

  • Mystery solved: Bright areas on Ceres come from...
    on August 11, 2020 at 9:44 am

    NASA's Dawn spacecraft gave scientists extraordinary close-up views of the dwarf planet Ceres, which lies in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. By the time the mission ended in October 2018, the orbiter had dipped to less than 22 miles (35 kilometers) above the surface, revealing crisp details of the mysterious bright regions Ceres had become known for.

  • Dwarf planet Ceres is an ocean world: study
    on August 10, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    The dwarf planet Ceres—long believed to be a barren space rock—is an ocean world with reservoirs of sea water beneath its surface, the results of a major exploration mission showed Monday.

  • Simba CubeSat to swivel from Earth to sun to help...
    on June 16, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    Due to launch aboard Friday's Vega rocket, ESA's Simba CubeSat is a tiny mission with a big ambition: to measure one of the fundamental drivers of climate change in a new way. The 30-cm long nanosatellite will turn from Earth to space to the sun and back again, to calculate our planet's overall energy budget.