On October 16th, NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft snapped a new image of Ceres while on its fifth orbit around the dwarf planet.
This is an awesome photo with amazing clarity. Right in the center we can see the giant Occator Crater with its “Spot 5” smack dab in the middle. What makes this photo different from the others that Dawn has previously taken of Ceres is the angle of the sun. This provided a great amount of lighting, giving us clarity of the planet’s surface.
Latest research of Spot 5 suggests that the bright material of the crater is made up of salts that had been left behind after a briny liquid emerged from deep below. This liquid froze upon reaching the surface and then sublimated, turning from ice to vapor. The light cast upon this area shows us just how bright this spot can get.
This wasn’t the only image of Ceres that has been released. The German Aerospace Center in Berlin has provided an image of Ceres that gives us a good approximation of how the dwarf planet would appear to the human eye. This view of Ceres combines several images that were taken from Dawn’s first orbit back in 2015. The framing camera used red, blue, and green filters to recreate what would be perceived by our eyes. The color is calculated based on how Ceres reflects different wavelengths of light.
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