Dwarf planet Ceres comes into view

Ceres as seen by Dawn spacecraft February 12, 2015

The Dawn spacecraft captured two sides of Ceres in this pair of images taken 10 hours apart when the probe was 83,000 kilometers from the dwarf planet.


The Dawn spacecraft has snapped the most detailed photos to date of the dwarf planet Ceres. Craters and mysterious bright patches dot the landscape in a pair of images taken February 12 when Dawn was just 83,000 kilometers from Ceres, the largest body in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Launched in 2007, Dawn spent 14 months investigating the asteroid Vesta before heading off to Ceres, which it will begin to orbit on March 6. Once there it will spend the rest of the year mapping the dwarf planet, hopefully finding clues about the formation of the solar system.

Christopher Crockett is an Associate News Editor. He was formerly the astronomy writer from 2014 to 2017, and he has a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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