Astronomy Picture of the Day
June 16, 2015

Closing on the 'White Spots' of 1-Ceres (EDM)
Closing on the 'White Spots' of 1-Ceres (EDM)

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA and Dr Paolo C. Fienga for the additional process. and color.

The brightest - and still really mysterious - "White Spots" found on the so-called "Dwarf Planet" 1-Ceres are now extremely well visible in this beautiful Extra Detail Magnification (or "EDM", for short) which is a crop obtained from a Contextual Image taken by the NASA - Dawn Spacecraft on June 6, 2015. This specific frame is just one among the first snapshots coming from Dawn's second Mapping Orbit of 1-Ceres, which is carried out from an altitude of approx. 2700 miles (such as about 4345,218 Km).


The Resolution here is roughly 1400 feet (such as approx. 426,72 meters) per pixel. Planetary Scientists are still puzzled by the nature of these Spots, and they are considering explanations which include (like we, as IPF, had - humbly, of course - already anticipated in the recent past) Salt and (Water) Ice.


As you can (probably) see here, the mysterious, in Nature, bright White Material seems to be laying in a series of Surface Depressions which are all located on the really flat Floor of a medium-sized Unnamed Impact Crater (and this circumstance, once - and if - proven, could demonstrate that the White Material itself actually comes from the Sub-Surface of 1-Ceres and it does not belong to the Impacting Body).


The image (which is a crop obtained from an Original NASA - Dawn Spacecraft's b/w and NON Map-Projected frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 19568) has been additionally processed, magnified to aid the visibility of the details, contrast enhanced and sharpened, Gamma corrected and then colorized (according to an educated guess carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga-LXTT-IPF) in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a normal human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Dawn Spacecraft and then looked ahead, towards  1-Ceres), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team.



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