Ceres Mystery Solved — Ceres is one of the many dwarf planets in our solar system. Discovered at the beginning of the 19th century by Giuseppe Piazzy, it is located in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter and it alone represents one third of the total mass of the belt.
Ceres reaches 950 kilometers in diameter and is even large enough to have a spherical shape.
The dwarf planet has been the subject of many studies over the past decades, but everything has changed with the Dawn mission.
In 2015, the probe was indeed close enough to the body and she had the opportunity to take several pictures. Photos that then allowed us to see that its surface was not made of rock as we thought, but a mixture of water ice and hydrated minerals.
This has not yet been proven, but Ceres is likely to possess an ice mantle and some researchers even think that the dwarf planet could shelter in its depths an ocean of liquid water.
Meanwhile, Dawn has taken many pictures of the celestial body and NASA shared this week a new picture of Mount Ahuna. The image in question features a mountain shining with a thousand lights. A mountain that does not really look like the rock formations of our own planet.
This mountain is not a recent discovery. The very first image that came to us dates from 2015. Since, thanks to Dawn, we have been able to determine its topology and we know that this mountain rises to a height of 6 kilometers. An impressive figure, which places it not far from Mount Everest and its 8 kilometers high.
In 2015, astronomers also spotted bright bands from its summit to its base. Bands whose exact nature has not yet been determined, but which could be formed by a salt.
Mount Ahuna fascinates many researchers. A recent study, published last June 11, it indicates that the mount was actually formed by a bubble from the mantle of Ceres and that it would be formed by salt water and rocks.