This simulated perspective view from NASA's Dawn mission shows the bright areas of Occator Crater, which contains the brightest area on Ceres, Cerealia Facula in the center and Vinalia Faculae to the side.

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Figure 1
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This simulated perspective view shows Occator Crater, measuring 57 miles (92 kilometers) across and 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) deep, which contains the brightest area on Ceres. This region has been the subject of intense interest since Dawn's approach to the dwarf planet in early 2015. This view, which faces north, was made using images from Dawn's low-altitude mapping orbit, 240 miles (385 kilometers) above Ceres.

Dawn's close-up view reveals a dome in a smooth-walled pit in the bright center of the crater. Numerous linear features and fractures crisscross the top and flanks of this dome. Prominent fractures also surround the dome and run through smaller, bright regions found within the crater. The central dome area is called Cerealia Facula and the dimmer bright areas are called Vinalia Faculae.

A second simulated perspective view, facing south, is also available (Figure 1).

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

For more information about the Dawn mission, visit

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