New animation shows unusual features of dwarf planet's surface in great detail.
NASA has released the video of a breathtaking flight over dwarf planet Ceres.
The colorful animation highlights the fascinating features of Ceres’ surface, its most prominent craters including Occator, Urvara and Haulani, mysterious bright spots, tall ‘lonely’ mountain, pits, flows and cracks.
The video was created using images taken from Dawn’s framing camera during spacecraft’s orbit around the dwarf planet – a mission lasted from August to October 2015. During the flight, the spacecraft dove deep at an altitude of about 900 miles and captured the stunning flight over the weird surface of Ceres.
“The stimulated overflight shows the wide range of crater shapes that we have encountered on Ceres,” said Ralf Jaumann scientists from Dawn’ mission. “The viewer can observe the sheer walls of the crater Occator and also Dantu and Yalode, where the craters are a lot flatter.”
Dwarf planet Ceres is the largest object in asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and was discovered in 1801. Ceres has been the focus of attention over the years because of its mysterious bright spots. It has more than 130 extremely bright areas which are scattered across its surface while most of the planet’s surface is generally dark.
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Dawn is the first spacecraft to visit Ceres. It entered its orbit in March 2015 with the purpose of studying the unusual geological formations of the dwarf planet. Currently, spacecraft is in its final and superclose orbit of Ceres at about 240 miles from its surface.