Ceres At Dawn—Take One
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The slim crescent of Ceres smiles back as the dwarf planet awaits the arrival of an emissary from Earth. This image was taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft on March 1, 2015, just a few days before the mission achieved orbit around the previously unexplored world.
Following the image sequence in which this view was acquired, the Dawn spacecraft slipped over to the dark side -- that is, the far side of Ceres with respect to the sun. The spacecraft is slated to resume imaging of Ceres' surface in mid-April, when it once again views lit terrain on Ceres.
The image was obtained at a distance of about 30,000 miles (about 48,000 kilometers) at a sun-Ceres-spacecraft angle, or phase angle, of 123 degrees. Image scale on Ceres is 1.9 miles (2.9 kilometers) per pixel.
This image was taken as part of the same sequence in which PIA19312 was acquired.
Ceres has an average diameter of about 590 miles (950 kilometers).
Dawn's mission is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Dawn is a project of the directorate's Discovery Program, managed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The University of California, Los Angeles, is responsible for overall Dawn mission science. Orbital ATK Inc., in Dulles, Virginia, designed and built the spacecraft. The German Aerospace Center, the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, the Italian Space Agency and the Italian National Astrophysical Institute are international partners on the mission team. For a complete list of acknowledgments, visit: http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission