Ceres – First ever detailed stereo picture of this mysterious minor planet !



Dawn Nears Ceres – Approach Images, Movies and Animations

NASA’s Dawn mission will arrive at Ceres on March 6, 2015, and will be the first spacecraft to explore a dwarf planet. Ceres is the largest body in the main asteroid belt. At the time of its discovery in 1801 it was considered a planet and later demoted. http://www.nasa.gov

Ceres stereo
Ceres stereo

SCOOP ! My pal Claudia Manzoni put together the first close-up stereo of dwarf planet Ceres EVER !!!! From the brand new pictures from NASA Dawn – [http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov] – published today. Enjoy ! 

Until the NASA’s Dawn spaceship drew close to Ceres this week, the best pictures we had of this, the largest minor planet (590 miles across) were from the Hubble Space Telescope, in orbit around the Earth. They showed little more than an indistinct blob with a noticeable bright spot, which highlighted the rotation period of the object (about 9 hours). There have been many speculations about what that bright spot could be … but no firm conclusions. These spectacular new pictures show that the bright spot is very compact, not just the floor of a crater, but much smaller and more intense, and … double ! Fascinating ! And still there is no firm conclusion as to what is causing this very bright feature. It looks temptingly like an intelligent signal, doesn’t it ?

Ceres stereo detail
Ceres stereo – detail

This is Astronomy as it happens !


© brianmay.com