The Dwarf planet Ceres is showing signs of cryoactivity and…water(ice)! Sodium carbonate, a mineral seen by the Dawn spacecraft in orbit around Ceres since 2015, shows up on Ceres as a hydrated variety, indicating that water is bound to the mineral. Images show the presence of slushy cryo-volcanic eruptions.
Data suggests that ice is frozen into the soils on Ceres and there could be briny water layers just beneath the surface. The water can’t last long on the surface – there’s no atmosphere and radiation breaks the molecular bonds, so it evaporates quickly. That there is growth of the ice walls and cryo-volcanoes indicates replenishment must come from subterranean sources. Could it be an active water cycle of some sort?
Jupiter’s Iconic ‘Great Red Spot’ is no more. Now it’s the ‘Great Orange Spot.’ Color changes have been noticed since the earliest close flybys of Jupiter in 1979.
Skywatching this week – Evening: Venus and Mercury – 7:30 – 8 p.m. every night Venus rises higher, Mercury sinks lower. Pre-dawn sky from 5:45 to 6:15 a.m., every day Mars creeps closer to Saturn; watch as Earth overtakes the two planets!