Astronomy Picture of the Day
September 13, 2015

Occator Crater and its 'White Spots'  (closer view - EDM)
Occator Crater and its 'White Spots' (closer view - EDM)

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

Today's APOD is a wonderful Extra Detail Magnification (or "EDM", for short) of a crop obtained from a picture recently taken, as you know, by the NASA - Dawn Spacecraft, which shows us, once again, the Unusually-looking Features found on the Floor of Occator Crater (approx. 92 Km - such as about 57,132 miles in diameter and about 4 Km - such as roughly 2,484 miles - deep). Occator Crater is located on the Dwarf-Planet known as 1-Ceres, and it is - litterally - the "home" of a real and - relatively - large collection of intriguing "Bright Spots". As a matter of fact, the aforementioned Bright Spots are way much brighter than the rest of 1-Ceres' Surface, and therefore they tend to appear quite overexposed in most of the images which have been taken so far.

Furthermore, if you will pay some real special attention to the smallest details of the EDM, you may be able to notice that the White Spots are certainly NOT the only peculiar Surface Feature characterizing the Floor of Occator Crater. So: what else do you see?... Write us and share your opinion, if you like to do so, at .

Last, but not least, this EDM (obviously, just like the Contextual Frame that it has been extracted from) is a composite of two images of Occator Crater: one obtained by using a short exposure, that captured the details of (in) the Bright Spots, and one where the Background Surface was captured at a normal exposure. These two images were both obtained by the NASA - Dawn Spacecraft during the Mission's High Altitude Mapping Orbit (or "HAMO", for short) Phase, from which the Spacecraft imaged (and it is still imaging) the Surface of 1-Ceres at a resolution of about 450 feet (such as approx. 137,16 meters) per pixel.

This image (which is a crop obtained from an Original NASA - Dawn Spacecraft's b/w and NON Map-Projected Contextual Frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 19889) has been additionally processed, extra-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 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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