What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

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What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Poll ended at Tue Feb 24, 2015 7:56 pm

Unusual light-colored rocks sitting on the surface
140
6%
Underground light soil uncovered by recent meteor impacts
944
43%
Frozen lakes
478
22%
The peaks of ice volcanoes
171
8%
Monoliths like in the movie 2001 ;)
111
5%
Something completely different
364
16%
 
Total votes: 2208

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RJN
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What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Postby RJN » Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:56 pm

Currently, the origin of relatively bright spots on asteroid Ceres is unknown. Please vote for your favorite explanation. This informal poll is connected to the Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) of 2015 February 18, found here: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap150218.html . If you have other thoughts, comments, or guesses as to the origin of these unusual spots, please post them here: discuss_apod.php?date=150218 .

gordojenks

Re: What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Postby gordojenks » Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:33 pm

sulfur deposits

Keyman
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Re: What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Postby Keyman » Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:51 pm

Last edited by Keyman on Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rjv

Re: What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Postby rjv » Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:00 pm

Mozzarella.

BiocheMiker

Re: What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Postby BiocheMiker » Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:04 pm

I think the bright spots are likely deposits of ice revealed by impact or forming in impact craters.

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Ron-Astro Pharmacist
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Re: What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Postby Ron-Astro Pharmacist » Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:45 pm

No doubt - they are eyes?

THE CAT AND THE MOON by: W. B. Yeats (1865-1939)
THE cat went here and there
And the moon spun round like a top,
And the nearest kin of the moon,
The creeping cat, looked up.
Black Minnaloushe stared at the moon,
For, wander and wail as he would,
The pure cold light in the sky
Troubled his animal blood.
Minnaloushe runs in the grass
Lifting his delicate feet.
Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?
When two close kindred meet,
What better than call a dance?
Maybe the moon may learn,
Tired of that courtly fashion,
A new dance turn.
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
From moonlit place to place,
The sacred moon overhead
Has taken a new phase.
Does Minnaloushe know that his pupils
Will pass from change to change,
And that from round to crescent,
From crescent to round they range?
Minnaloushe creeps through the grass
Alone, important and wise,
And lifts to the changing moon
His changing eyes.

Ok. So it's not a moon. I like the cat to Dawn comparison anyways. Though I don't expect they'll be changing Dawn's name to Minnaloushe anytime soon.
Make Mars not Wars

morrrva

Re: What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Postby morrrva » Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:03 pm

Ceres could be an amalgam of rock and ice, and that could be icy parts exposed via impact or other action.

bergerfry

Re: What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Postby bergerfry » Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:27 pm

Salt

Formica Dinette

Re: What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Postby Formica Dinette » Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:30 pm

rjv wrote:Mozzarella.


I beg to differ. Our moon is made of green cheese. We were taught that a hundred years ago. BTW, "green" does not refer to the color. Green cheese is freshly made cheese that is of a milky white color.

Maxinexus

Re: What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Postby Maxinexus » Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:44 pm

Ahhh it is nothing special.
A Chinese mining expedition. :shock: :lol2:

Toms

Re: What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Postby Toms » Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:49 pm

Ice skating rinks; the Cereans are serious about hockey. :wink:

Guest

Re: What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Postby Guest » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:00 pm

They're cities, of course. :lol2:

Steve987fix

Re: What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Postby Steve987fix » Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:13 pm

Ice.

mathmannix

Re: What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Postby mathmannix » Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:36 pm

It's there to attract other planets' explorers to their doom. Don't go to Ceres, it's a trap!

HguckinLuft

Re: What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Postby HguckinLuft » Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:41 pm

My son means it looks like mold stains. May somebody know something about the age of Ceres?
For me it looks more like a helloween pumpkin. (especially the right one). So it must be something like candles in the underground space.

ThePope

Re: What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Postby ThePope » Wed Feb 18, 2015 7:30 pm

jesus.

Louie Louie

Re: What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Postby Louie Louie » Wed Feb 18, 2015 7:44 pm

Liquid magnesium.

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MarkBour
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Re: What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Postby MarkBour » Wed Feb 18, 2015 7:51 pm

Dry ice.
Mark Goldfain

Alan Morgan

Re: What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Postby Alan Morgan » Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:46 pm

RJN wrote:Currently, the origin of relatively bright spots on asteroid Ceres is unknown. Please vote for your favorite explanation. This informal poll is connected to the Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) of 2015 February 18, found here: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap150218.html . If you have other thoughts, comments, or guesses as to the origin of these unusual spots, please post them here: discuss_apod.php?date=150218 .

Willwalkie

Re: What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Postby Willwalkie » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:57 pm

Interplanetary flyspeck on Dawn's windscreen

Tejay

Re: What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Postby Tejay » Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:53 pm

Pictures taken on sunnyside; light colored spots have to be reflections of sunlight.

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Re: What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Postby sallyseaver » Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:25 am

Ice - perhaps an ice layer rather than ice lakes.

The asteroid belt, including Ceres, is the result of a big crash as a planet was trying to form. Another planet had formed between Jupiter and this one, I call it Illo. Then when the protoplanet between Illo and Mars (I call Smithereens) tried to form, it crashed into Illo...before it fully formed. This caused: material from the crash to fling out away from the crash site. Illo's broken ice layer was gravitationally trapped by Saturn forming its rings, other light gaseous debris covered Saturn's ice layer. Illo crashed into Jupiter, creating a dent in Jupiter's ice layer and depositing red sulfur debris in the dent and depositing other gaseous debris to cover Jupiter's ice layer before the remaining stripped planet became gravitationally trapped as Jupiter's moon Io. Smithereens did not get to fully compact (like other planets) prior to the crash, this accounts for the density of Comet 67P, and I predict that Ceres will have a similar density (plus or minus 15%).

When a protoplanet's atomic material compacts due to the changing magnetic field of the core when the protoplanet starts to spin (spin starts when the protoplanet exits the spiral/vortex of nebula material that is an early stage of solar-system development), there is a lot of heat that is generated. This causes methane and water vapor to rise from the surface. When it rises high enough it freezes in cold space (some of the vapor condenses on the surface after the ice layer is present). This is why Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, maybe Neptune and many moons have ice layers (Neptune is formed from very light atomic material and only has a little methane, possibly not enough for a robust ice layer). Mercury's ice layer melted, ice layers on Venus and Mars eroded due to solar winds since they had very weak or no magnetosphere, and the drama of what happened to Earth's ice layer is out of the scope of this post. So steam was generated when the atomic material of Smithereens started compacting - for the piece of Smithereens called Ceres, did the steam get to form a complete ice layer which is now under a bunch of dirt debris from the crash, or is the ice eroded by solar winds so that only spots (lakes) are present? We'll have to find out.

down to earth
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Re: What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Postby down to earth » Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:47 am

Monolith definitely! ;)

bearvarine

Re: What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Postby bearvarine » Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:29 am

I think it is frozen CO2. Ceres is not that much further out in orbit than Mars, which has lots of frozen CO2 on its surface. Perhaps on Ceres, the CO2 does not sublimate much.

Wayne Jepson
Asternaut
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Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2014 5:00 am

Re: What do you think the bright spots on Ceres are?

Postby Wayne Jepson » Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:39 am

I suspect they may have more than one cause... recent impacts exposing fresh icy material from beneath a dusty surface is a likely cause for at least some of the bright spots. Others seem SO bright, it makes me suspect frost-covered areas around vents / geysers / ice volcanoes... and of course evidence of water vapor was observed last year, which would be consistent with these. Of course, development of longer term vents could be a response to meteor impacts?


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