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Thread: Why are Ceres's poles 50 C colder than its equator, when it has no axial tilt?

  1. #1
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    Why are Ceres's poles 50 C colder than its equator, when it has no axial tilt?

    I've been looking for an answer, and haven't found one.
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  2. #2
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    Isn't it because it has no (that is, a very small) axial tilt?

    Grant Hutchison

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Isn't it because it has no (that is, a very small) axial tilt?
    That would be my expectation. Always a low angle of sunlight and a good number of crater bottoms in permanent darkness.

    Here, one pole is in complete darkness, the other shows a good number of craters with large dark areas:

    https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/resourc...t-ceres-poles/

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  4. #4
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    At the equator, a beam of sunlight one square unit in area strikes an equal area of Ceres' surface. With no axial tilt, the sun will rise to a maximum of 45 degrees above the horizon at a point halfway between the equator and either pole. At this latitude, at noon, a square unit of sunlight is spread out over an area ~41% larger, or put another way, a unit of surface there receives just 1/1.414 = ~71% of the light as at the equator. And ever less towards the poles, and more to the equator.

    Of course, I've assumed Ceres shape is a sphere. Maybe it's an oblate spheroid.

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