Circling the Lights of Occator
Click on the image for the animation
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.
Dawn's mission is managed by JPL 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. UCLA 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, see http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission.
For more information about the Dawn mission, visit http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov.