Astronomy Picture of the Day
February 26, 2016

On the Limb of 1-Ceres (CTX Frame)
On the Limb 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 fascinating Contextual Image (or "CTX Frame", for short) of the Dwarf Planet 1-Ceres, taken by the NASA - Dawn Spacecraft on January, 4th, 2016, shows us a Region located in the Mid-Southern Latitudes of this intriguing Dwarf Planet. The largest Impact Crater visible in the scene is called Fluusa (approx. 37 miles - or about 59,545 Km - in diameter), which fills the upper left (Sx) portion of the image. Fluusa Crater has a densely Cratered Floor and therefore it is interpreted, by Planetary Scientists, as an extremely old Impact Feature.

The highly oblique Viewing Angle enhances, as you know, the Topography of this densely Cratered Landscape, especially along the Limb of 1-Ceres. On the other hand, the smooth, and less densely Cratered Area located at bottom of the picture, is, most likely, made out of Ejecta which came from a younger Impact Crater (possibly - but we are not sure - Juling Crater - that, however, is not visible in this image).

This frame is centered at about 35° South Latitude and 174° East Longitude. The NASA - Dawn Spacecraft captured the scene during its Low-Altitude Mapping Orbit (or "LAMO", for short), from an approx. altitude of approx. 228 miles (such as about 366,929 Km) above the Surface of 1-Ceres. The Image Resolution is roughly 151 feet (i.e. about 46,0248 meters) per pixel (---> Picture Element).

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 20387 - DAWN LAMO Image n. 33) 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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