A group of scientists from NASA's Dawn mission suggests that when sunlight reaches Ceres' Occator Crater, a kind of thin haze of dust and evaporating water forms there. This haze only becomes dense enough to be seen by looking at it laterally, as in this image, the scientists wrote in the journal Nature in December 2015.
Occator measures about 60 miles (90 kilometers) wide, and contains the brightest material seen on Ceres.
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