South polar region of Ceres

South polar region of Ceres
South polar region of Ceres Dawn had this view on May 16 from an altitude of 26,400 miles (42,500 kilometers). Most of the terrain beneath the orbiting spacecraft was on the night side of the dwarf planet, leaving only a narrow crescent illuminated. To get an idea of where Dawn was relative to Ceres and the sun, look at this figure. The large green ellipse is the current orbit, which Dawn flew to in order to observe Ceres at opposition on April 29. Orbiting clockwise, the spacecraft was at about the 4:00 position from Ceres (remember, the sun is on the left in that figure) when it captured this scene. Dawn took this and similar pictures to help navigators refine their measurements of its orbital position, as explained here and below. Visible at the left is Zadeni Crater. Zadeni is 80 miles (128 kilometers) in diameter and is on this map at 70°S, 39°E. (Zadeni is thought to have been a god of fruitfulness for the ancient Georgians, but the details are murky because that information is based on medieval records.) The larger crater on the right is Urvara, which we have seen a number of times from different altitudes, most recently last month. (If you try to compare the craters’ positions on the map with this scene, the perspective here deep in the southern hemisphere may prove a bit confusing.) An earlier photo of Zadeni from a lower altitude is below, and another May 16 navigation photo is below that. Full image and caption. NASA / JPL-Caltech / UCLA / MPS / DLR / IDA

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