Astronomy Picture of the Day
May 23, 2015

The 'White Spots' of 1-Ceres (CTX Frame)
The 'White Spots' of 1-Ceres (CTX Frame)

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

This simply beautiful Contextual Frame of of the so-called "Dwarf-Planet" known as 1-Ceres is part of a sequence taken by the NASA - Dawn Spacecraft on May 29, 2015, from a distance of about 4.500 miles (such as approx. 7.242,03 Km) from its - so far, pretty much unknown and extremely interesting, from many points of view - highly cratered Surface.

In this view we can see that the so-called "White Spot" discovered on 1-Ceres is, in fact, a cluster of at least 9 White Spots: three of them (and one, in particular) are (is) quite big, while the other six are truly small.

At this point, we can only imagine that we are looking at an unusual Crater Cluster which, maybe, revealed - as a consequence of the multiple Impacts that created it - some Water Ice laying in the Sub-Surface of 1-Ceres. Another possibility, on the other hand, is that the White Spots actually represent the Material that the Celestial Bodies which impacted - most likely simultaneously or, however, in an extremely short lap of time - 1-Ceres were made of.

In the future we hope that we might find out and tell you something more, but for now...that is it.

The 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 19559) 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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