This map-projected view of Ceres was created from images taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft during its high-altitude mapping orbit, in August and September, 2015.
Images taken using infrared (920 nanometers), red (750 nanometers) and blue (440 nanometers) spectral filters were combined to create this false-color view. Redder colors indicate places on Ceres' surface that reflect light strongly in the infrared, while bluish colors indicate enhanced reflectivity at short (bluer) wavelengths; green indicates places where albedo, or overall brightness, is strongly enhanced.
Scientists use this technique in order to highlight subtle color differences across Ceres, which would appear fairly uniform in natural color. This can provide valuable insights into the mineral composition of the surface, as well as the relative ages of surface features.
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