Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Ceres’ Spots: The Dwarf Planet Is Younger and Geologically More Active than Expected

Much younger than expected. Image courtesy of NASA/JPL.

Joel Kontinen

The evidence against a 4.5 billion-year-old solar system keeps on growing:

It includes Saturn’s rings, Pluto’s atmosphere, oxygen on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, geysers on Saturn’s moon Enceladus, as well as ice on Mercury on the asteroid 24 Themis.

Saturn’s moon Enceladus has enigmatic plumes.

And then there’s Ceres.

The dwarf planet is geologically active though it shouldn’t be in a very old universe.

New research features Ceres’ bright spots. According to New Scientist:

These spots are telling a story of a younger, more geologically active Ceres than researchers expected. That’s because we would expect material ejected by impacts to mix eventually and create a uniform surface.”

The most logical explanation is that there hasn’t been enough time.


McKinnon, Mika. 2017. The mysterious bright spots on Ceres may have a common origin. New Scientist (2 October).