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Dawn approaches Ceres

I know I'm a day late and a dollar short with this, but I just saw this on Twitter and I thought I'd share.


The resolution in this image is about 80% of what Hubble can get right now and is, as far as I know, the first animation of what the surface of the planet looks like. The Dawn probe is still in transit and we have about a month and a half before it enters Ceres's orbit, so much better resolution images will be pouring in over the next few months. To give a bit of a background, Dawn was launched in 2007 with the mission of exploring Vesta and Ceres, the two largest celestial bodies in the asteroid belt. It was the first spacecraft ever to travel to one celestial body, enter into a stable orbit, leave that stable orbit, and travel to another celestial body. It will also the first spacecraft to survey a dwarf planet, beating out the New Horizons probe which will conduct its flyby of Pluto in July of this year.

EDIT: Here's the animated gif in case the tweet doesn't load for you.

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