Ceres on April 29, 2017

Ceres on April 29, 2017
Ceres on April 29, 2017 On April 29, Dawn watched a fully illuminated Ceres rotating on its axis for a little more than three hours. (One Cerean day, the time to complete one full rotation, is nine hours. Because Ceres turns faster than Earth, this movie spans what would be the equivalent of nearly nine hours of Earth rotation.) The spacecraft was about 12,000 miles (20,000 kilometers) high when it witnessed this scenery at opposition. Cerealia Facula and Vinalia Faculae in Occator Crater look like a pair of bright beacons casting their reflected sunlight back into the cosmos. Occator is on this map at 20°N, 239°E, and you can use it as a reference to identify other features. It is worth noting that Ceres appears somewhat washed out here compared to all the pictures we have seen of it, despite a slight enhancement of the contrast. The reason is that we are looking along the same direction as the incoming light, so shadows have mostly disappeared. This phenomenon is known as shadow hiding. With nearly uniform illumination and no shadows visible, the principal variations in how bright or dark Ceres appears are a result of intrinsic differences in the material on the ground, such as composition or texture. (Differences are more evident in the color picture below.) Full movie and caption. NASA / JPL-Caltech / UCLA / MPS / DLR / IDA

"We're changing the world. Are you in?"
- CEO Bill Nye

Sign up for email updates