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Water Vapor Found Around an Asteroid

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Water Vapor Discovered for the First Time Around an Asteroid

An international team, including researchers from CNRS and the Paris Observatory at LESIA1 (Observatoire de Paris/CNRS/UPMC/Université Paris-Diderot) and at IMCEE2 (Observatoire de Paris/CNRS/UniversUPMC/Université Lille 1), has discovered intermittent emissions of water vapor on Ceres, the largest of the asteroids, using the Herschel3 space telescope. These findings were published in the 23 January, 2014 edition of Nature.


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Illustration: Cérès, the largest asteroid in the solar system ©IMCCE-Observatoire de Paris/CNRS/Y.Gominet

1Laboratoire d'Etudes Spatiales et d'Instrumentation en Astrophysique
2Institut de Mécanique Céleste et de Calcul des Ephémérides
3Herschel is a European Space Agency (ESA) space telescope. The French National Space Agency (CNES) monitors and funds French participation in Herschel.