Even better views of Ceres, courtesy Dawn

Even as New Horizons approaches the dwarf planet Pluto, another dwarf planet is getting ready for its closeup — 1 Ceres, the giant of the asteroid belt, will gain an artificial satellite later this year.  Dawn was about 90,000 miles away when it captured this sequence of images, with enough detail now to make up central uplifts in large craters.  The mysterious white spot seems to be growing smaller as images get better, suggesting it’s not so much a huge white thing as just a very bright thing.  But it’s still not at all clear what it is.  To me, though, Ceres is starting to look like the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn.  Very intriguing!

ceres_opnav3_3

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