N. Schmedemann/WWU, G. Thangjam/NISER, A. Nathues/MPS

Dawn XM2 at Occator crater

Dawn's final high-resolution observations of Occator crater at Ceres establish the dwarf planet as an ocean world. Read the Collection of papers across Nature Research.

Latest Research

  • Article |

    High-spatial-resolution images of the bright points at Occator crater on Ceres, taken during the second extended Dawn mission, allowed reconstruction of the chronology of their formation. The area experienced extensive cryovolcanism less than nine million years ago that lasted several million years, indicating recent geological activity.

    • A. Nathues
    • , N. Schmedemann
    • , G. Thangjam
    • , J. H. Pasckert
    • , K. Mengel
    • , J. Castillo-Rogez
    • , E. A. Cloutis
    • , H. Hiesinger
    • , M. Hoffmann
    • , L. Le Corre
    • , J.-Y. Li
    • , C. Pieters
    • , C. A. Raymond
    • , V. Reddy
    • , O. Ruesch
    •  & D. A. Williams
  • Letter |

    High-resolution data of Ceres’s bright spots (faculae), obtained by Dawn’s second extended mission, suggest the existence of a deep brine-rich reservoir that emerged to the surface through long-lived cryovolcanic activity as a consequence of the impact that created Occator crater.

    • C. A. Raymond
    • , A. I. Ermakov
    • , J. C. Castillo-Rogez
    • , S. Marchi
    • , B. C. Johnson
    • , M. A. Hesse
    • , J. E. C. Scully
    • , D. L. Buczkowski
    • , H. G. Sizemore
    • , P. M. Schenk
    • , A. Nathues
    • , R. S. Park
    • , T. H. Prettyman
    • , L. C. Quick
    • , J. T. Keane
    • , M. D. Rayman
    •  & C. T. Russell
  • Letter |

    High-resolution gravity data from Dawn’s second extended mission could probe the global and local structure of Ceres’s crust. The results show significant spatial and vertical variations of crustal density and porosity, associated with ice features and ice-related processes driven from the interior, and impacts.

    • R. S. Park
    • , A. S. Konopliv
    • , A. I. Ermakov
    • , J. C. Castillo-Rogez
    • , R. R. Fu
    • , K. H. G. Hughson
    • , T. H. Prettyman
    • , C. A. Raymond
    • , J. E. C. Scully
    • , H. G. Sizemore
    • , M. M. Sori
    • , A. T. Vaughan
    • , G. Mitri
    • , B. E. Schmidt
    •  & C. T. Russell
  • Article |

    Spectroscopic data obtained at high spatial resolution from Dawn detected the presence of fresh chloride salts at Cerealia Facula on Ceres. The spatial distribution of the hydration level of these salts suggests that they surfaced a maximum of a few centuries ago and that the upwelling of salty fluids may still be active.

    • M. C. De Sanctis
    • , E. Ammannito
    • , A. Raponi
    • , A. Frigeri
    • , M. Ferrari
    • , F. G. Carrozzo
    • , M. Ciarniello
    • , M. Formisano
    • , B. Rousseau
    • , F. Tosi
    • , F. Zambon
    • , C. A. Raymond
    •  & C. T. Russell
  • Letter |

    Global images of helium and hydrogen emission are used to directly derive the helium abundance out to 2.2R. The helium abundance is shaped by the large-scale coronal magnetic field. Helium is almost completely depleted near the equator in the quiet Sun.

    • John D. Moses
    • , Ester Antonucci
    • , Jeffrey Newmark
    • , Frédéric Auchère
    • , Silvano Fineschi
    • , Marco Romoli
    • , Daniele Telloni
    • , Giuseppe Massone
    • , Luca Zangrilli
    • , Mauro Focardi
    • , Federico Landini
    • , Maurizio Pancrazzi
    • , Guglielmo Rossi
    • , Andrea M. Malvezzi
    • , Dennis Wang
    • , Jean-Christophe Leclec’h
    • , Jean-Pierre Moalic
    • , Frédéric Rouesnel
    • , Lucia Abbo
    • , Aurélien Canou
    • , Nicolas Barbey
    • , Chloé Guennou
    • , John M. Laming
    • , James Lemen
    • , Jean-Pierre Wuelser
    • , John L. Kohl
    •  & Lawrence D. Gardner
  • Letter |

    A large streamer of infalling material joins the dense core with the accretion disk around a young protostar, where the streamer is linked to disk structures. This finding demonstrates the importance of a big-picture viewpoint when studying small-scale accretion features.

    • Jaime E. Pineda
    • , Dominique Segura-Cox
    • , Paola Caselli
    • , Nichol Cunningham
    • , Bo Zhao
    • , Anika Schmiedeke
    • , Maria José Maureira
    •  & Roberto Neri

News & Comment

  • Editorial |

    Before its demise, the Dawn spacecraft performed a series of low passes over the bright spots of dwarf planet Ceres. These high-resolution data highlight the nature of Ceres as an active ocean world with unique characteristics.

  • Comment |

    During the last 15 years the number of astronomy-related papers published by scientists in Venezuela has been continuously decreasing, mainly due to emigration. If rapid corrective actions are not implemented, professional astronomy in Venezuela could disappear.

    • Néstor Sánchez
  • News & Views |

    Secondary gas disks around main sequence stars may regenerate planetary atmospheres, potentially transforming desiccated rocky worlds into gas-enveloped sub-Neptunes that feature high metallicities and enhanced atmospheric C/O ratios.

    • Eve J. Lee
  • News & Views |

    Long believed to be a primitive body, Ceres is now an ocean world with deep brines at a regional and potentially global scale. Further studies at Ceres’s conditions and — above all — a follow-up mission are needed to study its evolution and potential habitability.

    • Julie Castillo-Rogez

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