This animation, made using images taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, shows Occator crater on Ceres, home to a collection of intriguing bright spots.
The animation was generated using two components: images taken during Dawn's High Altitude Mapping Orbit (HAMO) phase, where it viewed the surface at a resolution of about 450 feet (140 meters) per pixel, and a shape model generated using images that were taken during Dawn's lower-resolution Survey phase. The image is draped over the shape model, which has been stretched by 1.5 times in the vertical direction to better illustrate the crater's topography.
Elevations span a range of about 4 miles (6 kilometers) from the lowest places in Occator to the highest terrains surrounding the crater.
The bright spots are much brighter than the rest of the surface, and tend to appear overexposed in most images. The image used here is a composite of two images of Occator: one using a short exposure that captures the detail in the bright spots, and one where the background surface is captured at normal exposure.
The Dawn mission to Vesta and Ceres is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington D.C. UCLA is responsible for overall Dawn mission science.
The Dawn framing cameras have been developed and built under the leadership of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany, with significant contributions by DLR German Aerospace Center, Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin, and in coordination with the Institute of Computer and Communication Network Engineering, Braunschweig. The framing camera project is funded by the Max Planck Society, DLR, and NASA/JPL.
More information about Dawn is online at http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/PSI