Telescope Spies Water Plumes on Dwarf Planet Ceres
January 23, 2014
By The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES - A space telescope has detected signs of water on the largest object in the asteroid belt.
A team led by the European Space Agency noticed water plumes spewing from two regions on Ceres, a dwarf planet about the size of Texas. The source of the water is still a mystery. There may be layer of ice below the surface that gets heated or the plumes could come from ice volcanoes.
There are only a few other objects in the solar system known to have active plumes of water.
The observations appear in Thursday`s issue of Nature.
NASA`s Dawn spacecraft is on its way to visit Ceres next year. It won`t be in the best position to see any plumes but its instruments can detect water.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Story Image: Artist rendering of Dwarf Planet Ceres (NASA.gov/ESA/ATG Medialab)
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