Clues to Ceres' Internal Structure
Click for larger animation
This animation shows Ceres as seen by NASA's Dawn spacecraft from its high-altitude mapping orbit at 913 miles (1,470 kilometers) above the surface. The colorful map overlaid at right shows variations in Ceres' gravity field measured by Dawn, and gives scientists hints about the dwarf planet's internal structure. Red colors indicate more positive values, corresponding to a stronger gravitational pull than expected, compared to scientists' pre-Dawn model of Ceres' internal structure; blue colors indicate more negative values, corresponding to a weaker gravitational pull.
An annotated version of the animation, showing a scale of the difference between predicted and observed gravity, is also available. (This version also has a higher frame rate, for a smoother animation.)
The animation was created by projecting a map of Ceres onto a rotating sphere. The image scale is about 450 feet (140 meters) per pixel.
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, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Italian Space Agency and Italian National Astrophysical Institute are international partners on the mission team.
For a complete list of Dawn mission participants, visit http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission.
For more information about the Dawn mission, visit http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov.