NASA / ESA / J. Parker (Southwest Research Institute) / P. Thomas (Cornell University) / L. McFadden (University of Maryland, College Park)
Four views of Ceres from Hubble
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope took these images of the asteroid 1 Ceres over a 2-hour and 20-minute span, the time it takes the Texas-sized object to complete one quarter of a rotation. One day on Ceres lasts 9 hours. Hubble snapped 267 images of Ceres as it watched the asteroid make more than one rotation.
The bright spot that appears in each image is a mystery. It is brighter than its surroundings, yet it is still very dark, reflecting only a small portion of the sunlight that shines on it. The observations were made in visible and in ultraviolet light. Hubble took the snapshots between December 2003 and January 2004.