BRIGHT SPOTS ON CERES ARE FACULAE NEWS

Occator crater on asteroid 1 Ceres with its conspicuous bright faculae. NASA-JPL image 20150909/PIA19889-16.

Occator crater on asteroid 1 Ceres with its conspicuous bright faculae. NASA-JPL image 20150909/PIA19889-16.

Since their first discovery, the origin of bright spots on the surface of asteroid 1 Ceres, known as faculae, has been enigmatic. In a new investigation, Nathan Stein and colleagues at Caltech propose the bright spots are generated by impact heating and the upwelling of volatile-rich materials or the upwelling and excavation of subsurface brines. The study also suggests that faculae are relatively young features on an active surface of Ceres, whose near surface may support the presence of brines in the present day.

Source: Stein, N. T. et al. (2018) The formation and evolution of bright spots on Ceres. Icarus (in press).

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