Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty
Blogs

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Pretty Picture: Three Wanderers

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

12-03-2014 12:34 CDT

Topics: asteroid 4 Vesta, pretty pictures, asteroids, amateur astrophotos, Dawn, many worlds, asteroid 1 Ceres, amateur astronomers

With all the excitement happening on missions criscrossing the solar system, I often forget to enjoy the views of our solar system that we can achieve from home. Amateur astronomers don't make the same mistake. Here's a lovely photo that Stuart Atkinson sent me, captured last night from Kendal, England. What makes this photo special? Wait and see...

Three worlds

Stuart Atkinson

Three worlds

The photo is actually a stack of five individual exposures, in order to make fainter lights more visible. There's one particularly bright light in the photo; that's a planet, Mars. But there are other planetary wanderers visible in the photo, too. Here, Stu has pointed them out for you:

Three worlds

Stuart Atkinson

Three worlds
On March 11, 2014, Stuart Atkinson caught this view of three planetary wanderers in the sky over Kendal, Cumbria, England: Mars, Vesta, and Ceres.

Ceres and Vesta are more or less pacing each other around the Sun right now, a coincidence that has enabled the first-ever mission to orbit two different worlds. Dawn is in Stu's photo, too, far too faint to be seen, of course. It is somewhere along the arc of sky that connects Ceres and Vesta -- a bit closer, now, to Ceres, than to Vesta. All three are orbiting the Sun, but over the coming year Dawn will slowly close the distance that separates it from Ceres.

Where is Dawn now? You can check in on it at this website. Here's a diagram showing the relative positions of Earth, Mars, Vesta, Dawn, and Ceres, a short time before Stu took his pretty picture.

Dawn's trajectory on March 11, 2014

NASA / JPL / UCLA

Dawn's trajectory on March 11, 2014
 
See other posts from March 2014

 

Or read more blog entries about: asteroid 4 Vesta, pretty pictures, asteroids, amateur astrophotos, Dawn, many worlds, asteroid 1 Ceres, amateur astronomers

Comments:

Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search

JOIN THE
PLANETARY SOCIETY

Our Curiosity Knows No Bounds!

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Us

Featured Images

What Lies Beneath

MAVEN enters orbit
Finding jets in the September 19, 2014 NavCam image of comet 67P
NavCam view of comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko on September 19, 2014
More Images

Featured Video

View Larger »

Fly to an Asteroid!

Travel to Bennu on the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft!

Send your name

Join the New Millennium Committee

Let’s invent the future together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook! Twitter! Google+ and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!