Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014
By Kadri

An artist's impression of water outgassing from two sources on the dwarf planet Ceres.

The dwarf planet Ceres has shown signs of water vapour.

Ceres was discovered on January 1st 1801 and it's the smallest of the five dwarf planets found. It is about 950 km across ( for comparison - Pluto is about 1160km across and our Moon is ca 1740km across) and the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter constituting a third of the asteroid belts mass.

Scientists have been observing Ceres using the Herschel Space Observatory and have found that the surface of the dwarf planet is emitting water vapour. The discovery was made with the HIFI (Heterodyne Instrument for the Far Infrared) instrument and it's the first proof of Ceres having ice on it's surface and also an atmosphere around it.

It was estimated that about 6kg of water vapour is produced per second and it's only coming from two locations on the surface.


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