Dwarf Planets Approaching: More Detail!

As Dawn and New Horizons work their way slowly towards their dwarf planet targets (Dawn inching gradually in via ion propulsion, and New Horizons screaming through the vast space of the outer solar system), they’re sending back pictures that are better than ever.  First, New Horizons: it is now (barely, with extensive post-processing) able to make out tiny Nix and Hydra.  It’s only the second spacecraft ever to spy them; only Hubble has been able to photograph them before.  We’re approaching the point where New Horizons’ images will match those of Hubble, and then it will quickly begin to surpass them.

LORRI_4x4_Presser_02

And then, Ceres, courtesy of Dawn.  This is a much better picture, since Dawn is much closer to its target than New Horizons is.  It’s already much better than Hubble’s best image of Ceres, but the white spots remain mysterious.  Isn’t it exciting?  😉

ceres02_dawn_2119

 

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