Ceres Mystery solved — NASA recently unveiled a new image Ceres –the dwarf planet — also known as the largest asteroid in our solar system – solving the mystery of Ahuna Mons, a strange mountain that looks like a huge ice volcano.
No one knows how Ahuna Mons developed on the dwarf planet Ceres; However, a group of scientists has a new theory that seems to explain the origins of the peaks. According to a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience, many gravitational measurements and investigations of the geometric shape of Ceres suggest that a bubble made of a mixture of mud, rock and salt water emerged from the depths of the dwarf planet.
This bubble could have pushed the ice-rich crust up solidified and stacked to form a 4-kilometer-high, 17-kilometer-wide mountain. In other words, scientists believe that Ahuna Mons is a giant mud volcano, rather than another type of structure in Ceres.
“In this region, the interior of Ceres is not solid and rigid, but moves in. This ‘bubble’ that formed in the Ceres mantle beneath Ahuna Mons is a mixture of saline water and rock components,” said Wladimir. Neumann, from the DLR Planetary Research Institute.
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The topographic map of Ceres was created from the photos taken by the Dawn robotic mission in 2016. After completing its mission last year, Dawn still circulates on the dwarf planet despite running out of fuel.
Ceres is a dwarf planet about 950 kilometers in diameter located in the Main Belt of Asteroids, between Mars and Jupiter. It bears the name of the Roman goddess of agriculture and fertility.
Discovered in 1801 by the Italian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi (director of the Palermo Observatory in Sicily), it is undoubtedly composed of different hydrated compounds and surface water ice, with a rock core at its center. It is its spherical shape that has earned it to leave the category of asteroids and to be reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006 by the International Astronomical Union.
The magnitude of Ceres varies from 6.7 to perihelion (its distance to the Earth is then less than 2 astronomical units, AU) to 9.3, which makes it possible to follow its movement among the stars with a pair of binoculars.
Ceres was photographed in 2004 by the Hubble Space Telescope. Since March 2015, the American Dawn probe has been installed in orbit around it and provides detailed information, especially on its frozen surface. The regions of different light intensities reflect the presence of topographical accidents (like craters), zones of different chemical composition or even signs of movement in internal liquid water volumes or even geysers.