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Fresh look at dwarf planet Ceres

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User ID: 153208
10/10/2006 02:37 PM
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Fresh look at dwarf planet Ceres
First impressions count - unless you're Ceres.

Last month, the asteroid was re-classified as a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), and now new images of its surface reveal a surprisingly diverse surface terrain, scientists say.

"We thought Ceres had a flat surface," said Benoit Carry, from the Observatoire Paris-Meudon, "but our images show that it is rich in surface features."

Carry's team has produced 360 infrared images of Ceres while observing it in rotation at the Keck observatory in Mauna Kea.

The results were presented here at the Division of Planetary Sciences meeting in Pasadena, California.

The subdued black and white images, which map 80% of the dwarf planet, suggest a textured surface, but not its physical properties.

Dark and bright spots in the images might be crater impacts, mineral deposits or the effects of space weathering, said Mr Carry.

3D model

The images are the first of an asteroid/dwarf planet using infrared and advanced adaptive optics, a technique that uses deformable mirrors on a telescope to correct the blurring caused by turbulence in Earth's atmosphere.

[link to news.bbc.co.uk]
User ID: 142889
10/10/2006 02:39 PM
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Re: Fresh look at dwarf planet Ceres
I call it first

Planet X

Anonymous Coward
User ID: 153167
United Kingdom
10/10/2006 02:52 PM
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Re: Fresh look at dwarf planet Ceres
As Ceres is merely a fragment of the Asteroid Belt that did not form into a single planet, we have no scientific reason to call it a planet in the proper sense of the word. This silly decision by the IAU to call it a dwarf planet was made for purely political reasons, not for scientific ones, i.e., call everything over a certain size a planet so that European and American astronomers don't argue any more about whether some newly found object orbiting the sun is a planet or not. By the same set of criteria adopted by the IAU, Earth's moon is a planet, which makes them look what they are: nonsensical. The sooner real science is restored to international astronomy, the better.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 106993
10/10/2006 02:59 PM
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Re: Fresh look at dwarf planet Ceres