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[X Files] That's No Moon

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by Rashmon, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. Rashmon

    Rashmon Contributing Member

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    Uh oh...

    [​IMG]

    NASA Sees 'Bright Spots' On Dwarf Planet In Our Solar System

    Scientists are puzzled by a new image taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, which found two bright spots on the dwarf planet Ceres. The spots are noticeably brighter than other parts of the surface, which looks to be rocky and pockmarked.

    Ceres lies in an asteroid belt between the paths of Mars and Jupiter. A white area was previously seen in 2004, in an image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. But new images show there are actually two spots, and scientists do not know what's causing them.

    "Ceres' bright spot can now be seen to have a companion of lesser brightness, but apparently in the same basin," says Chris Russell, principal investigator for the Dawn mission that's based at the University of California, Los Angeles. "This may be pointing to a volcanolike origin of the spots, but we will have to wait for better resolution before we can make such geologic interpretations."

    The image was taken on Feb. 19 from a distance of nearly 29,000 miles, NASA says. The Dawn craft will eventually enter into orbit around Ceres, promising even sharper images of the mysterious spots.

    "The brightest spot continues to be too small to resolve with our camera, but despite its size it is brighter than anything else on Ceres. This is truly unexpected and still a mystery to us," said lead investigator Andreas Nathues of the framing camera team at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Gottingen, Germany.

    Ceres is some 590 miles across, with a diameter that's wider at the equator than at the poles. Scientists have called it an "embryonic planet" whose development was stalled by the gravity of nearby Jupiter.

    More from NASA's overview:

    "Ceres has more in common with Earth and Mars than its rocky neighbors. There are signs that Ceres contains large amounts of water ice beneath its surface. Scientists using the Herschel Space Observatory found evidence for water vapor on Ceres. The vapor may be produced by cryovolcanoes or by ice near the surface sublimating (transforming from solid to gas). This proves that Ceres has a icy surface and an atmosphere as well. Astronomers estimate that if Ceres were composed of 25 percent water, it may have more water than all the fresh water on Earth."
     
  2. Ottomaton

    Ottomaton Contributing Member
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    One point -

    Ceres as a whole has one of the lowest albedos of any major object in the solar system - lower than Mercury and the Moon.

    If you put the same section next to Enceladus, it is probably a dark spot.
     
  3. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
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  4. Deckard

    Deckard Blade Runner
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    I've been following this mission and it's a trip and a half. The last image I saw was around 50K+ away from the dwarf planet. You could see the "bright spots," but certainly not this sharp. If it turns out to be water ice, that would be huge. Huge!
     
  5. BamBam

    BamBam Contributing Member

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    [​IMG]


    ^^^
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    Just an Illuminati gathering....;)
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  6. dachuda86

    dachuda86 Member

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    paging ToyCen
     
  7. KingCheetah

    KingCheetah Contributing Member

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    It is unusual the way the spots disappear in animations. They're going to get really close to ceres so we should get an answer to the mystery.
     
  8. Nero

    Nero Member

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    Solar radiation heating the thing up just like a comet, right, and the heated liquid is just bursting from beneath the surface in geysers, crystalizing, and the light from the sun is hitting the ice crystals at an oblique angle, thus reflecting the light like a mirror... ?? Maybe?

    Would be nice to find a nice big blob of fresh water to tug back to the general vicinity of Earth, but then I remember 'Europa Report', and I don't want electric alien squids anywhere near us!
     
  9. BetterThanI

    BetterThanI Contributing Member

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    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Ottomaton

    Ottomaton Contributing Member
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    It is almost defiantly freshly disturbed water. The only other guess I've seen suggested is some kind of salt. Albedo of new snow is higher than anything else on earth. The issue is that albedo goes down rapidly as it remains undisturbed.

    Most reflective object in the SS is Enceladus, moon of Saturn, because it is very active with cryovolcanos. Basically, it is constantly spewing out snow like a snow making machine at a ski lodge, which spreads and settles over the surface. A bunch of the kuyper belt micro planets are supposed to be mostly ice, but they are not very reflective because they've remained frozen for billions of years. Carbonacious Chondroids (sp?), aka rocks like the moon and mercury are darkest, but those old permafrozen ice planets are right there with them.

    Doing some reading, Ceres is supposedly a thin layer of dust over mostly ice (more H20 on Ceres than Earth), so the question is did something disturb Ceres inside, or is it an external object.

    The fact that it is right in the middle of a crater caught my eye right off the bat, but that is probably an ignorant thought, and unrelated.
     
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  11. RunninRaven

    RunninRaven Contributing Member
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    Nothing to be ashamed of. They make pills for that now.
     
  12. Nero

    Nero Member

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    If it was struck hard by an asteroid, the kinetic energy from the collision would probably have created enough heat to vaporize the ice, turning it to steam, erupting from the surface, and then in turn turning back immediately into ice/snow.. perhaps?
     
  13. Ottomaton

    Ottomaton Contributing Member
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    Sounds good to me.
     
  14. B-Bob

    B-Bob "94-year-old self-described dreamer"

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    This is also the first thing I thought of with the Mars puff -- little asteroid strike or similar -- but I never heard if they figured that one out.
     
  15. Dubious

    Dubious Contributing Member

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    compacting gravity squeezes lighter compounds up through weak spots in every celestial body
     
  16. Haymitch

    Haymitch Custom Title
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    Took the words right out of my mouth.
     
  17. BamBam

    BamBam Contributing Member

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    [​IMG]

    Kirk and Bones simultaneously approve!...;)
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  18. MadMax

    MadMax Contributing Member

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    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OrjmeGKoR1E" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
     
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  19. BamBam

    BamBam Contributing Member

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    [​IMG]





    ____[​IMG]____

    What if we found the Death Star...:eek:
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  20. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
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    No the Death Star is Iapetus, a moon of Saturn.
    [​IMG]

    In this case that really is a moon.
     

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