The Interior of Ceres

One of the interesting things about Ceres is it is actually less dense (2161 Kg/cubic meter) than the Jupiter moon Europa (3013 Kg/cubic meter). It does begin to make more sense after learning there may be some sort of brine making up the interior. Knowing the density we should be able to figure out how […]

The Bright Spots on Ceres

The Dawn mission released this mosaic image of one of the bright spots on the dwarf planet Ceres. The sodium carbonate (yes it’s washing soda) feature is basically a butte. How that would happen is puzzling. NASA’s caption: This mosaic of a prominent mound located on the western side of Cerealia Facula was obtained by […]

Juling Crater on Ceres

The Dawn mission is still going strong.  In fact Dawn just came to within 5,200 km / 3,230 mi of the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres (22 Aug 17).  The image below is from about two years ago on 25 Aug 2016 when Dawn was much closer, at an altitude of only 385 km […]

Ceres at Opposition

Ceres diameter:  945 km / 587 miles.  Ceres is estimated to contain almost a third of mass of the entire asteroid belt.  Those movies with the spaceship having to do thrilling flying to get through the asteroid belt are far from being accurate. NASA – This enhanced color image of Ceres’ surface was made from […]

NavCam View of Ceres

A very nice look at Ceres from Dawn’s NAVCAM. The bright spot in Occator Crater at the top of the image. The Dawn spacecraft is moving to a new orbit 20,000 km / 12,400 miles above Ceres, this image was taken on 28 March 2017 at a distance of 48,300 km / 30,000 miles. Dawn […]

Dawn’s Look at Ceres

The Dawn spacecraft returned this very nice image of the dwarf planet Ceres. It features Occator Crater and Ahuna Mons. Ahuna Mons is the tallest mountain on Ceres, some 4 km / 2.5 miles high, it is visible on the right limb of the planet. Occator Crater is hard to miss with the bright evaporite […]

Ceres in Color

Great look at Ceres, click the image to see a larger version. This view of Ceres, produced by the German Aerospace Center in Berlin, combines images taken during Dawn’s first science orbit in 2015 using the framing camera’s red, green and blue spectral filters. The color was calculated using a reflectance spectrum, which is based […]

Mystery Spots on Ceres

A nice look at some of those mysterious white spots on Ceres. The area shown above is some of the brightest on the dwarf planet. From the Dawn vantage point of just 385 km / 240 miles scientists believe the white material is some of salt. Looking in the center of the image at the […]