Astronomy Picture of the Day
March 7, 2015

Crescent 1-Ceres
Crescent 1-Ceres

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

The slim Crescent of 1-Ceres smiles back as the Dwarf Planet awaits the arrival of an Unmanned Emissary from Earth.

This image was taken by the NASA - Dawn Spacecraft on March 1, 2015, just a few days before the Spacecraft achieved orbit around this previously unexplored Celestial Body. Following the image sequence from which this view was acquired, the NASA - Dawn Spacecraft slipped over to the Dark Side - such as the Far Side - of 1-Ceres, with respect to the Sun. The NASA - Dawn Spacecraft is programmed to resume the imaging of 1-Ceres' Surface in mid-April of the AD 2015, when the Spacecraft will once again be in the right position to obtain views of Sunlit Terrain on 1-Ceres.

This frame was obtained at a distance of about 30.000 miles (such as approx. 48.280,2 Km) from 1-Ceres, and at a Sun-1-Ceres-NASA - Dawn Spacecraft Angle (also known as "Phase Angle"), of 123°. The image scale on 1-Ceres is roughly 1,9 miles (such as approx. 3,05 Km) per pixel.

Note: a tip for the most acute Viewers. A (clear, in our opinion, as IPF) and unmistakable sign of the presence of a (probably very) thin Atmosphere surrounding 1-Ceres can be seen here. Can you see it too?

This image (which is an Original NASA - Dawn Spacecraft's b/w and NON Map-Projected frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 19312) 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 down, towards the Surface of 1-Ceres), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team.

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