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Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Time Event
first color map of Ceres
NASA has released a map-style image of the surface of the planetoid Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt. The image was compiled from pictures taken by the highly successful Dawn robotic spacecraft. It's still pretty low resolution because although it's now in orbit around Ceres, it's still a long way from its surface. I'll be eagerly waiting for closer and higher resolution images over the coming months.

One of the things that has caught everybody's attention is the appearance of some extremely bright spots on the surface. Nobody has any real idea what they may be, although that doesn't stop people suggesting possibilities. This is much more fun than betting on stupid horse races or elections. My hunch is that they're ice.

The image NASA released has, for some inexplicable reason, swapped the low frequency light (infra-red) with the high frequency (blue). I've swapped them back again to give a better idea of what it looks like. Remember this is color enhanced and the planetoid probably looks more like a gray sphere with only the slightest hints of color. Remember also that the reddish areas indicate heat rather than actual red. To see the craters properly imagine the light coming from the left.

For some reason LJ no longer seems to respect sideways scrolling images, so throws my entire page out of whack, so I give a couple of reduced images here and put the full-sized ones behind a cut.

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(Crossposted from http://miriam-e.dreamwidth.org/327950.html at my Dreamwidth account. Number of comments there so far: comment count unavailable)

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