NASA's Dawn spacecraft captures clearest-ever image of “dwarf planet” Ceres




That’s not a Moon…


I´d rather we go to blue kitty planet, but dwarf planet is fine too I guess …


Some of us did know that, and are thrilled to see a little multidisciplinary action happening in a JPL press release. And wishing we’d had cereal for breakfast.


On the one hand I am sooo excited to see what Pluto looks like. On the other hand I am pretty sure it will be, “Yep. Ball of rock and ice.” I hope I am wrong!


As I recall the timing of the launch was an important issue because during Pluto’s “winter” what little atmosphere it has freezes solid. Scientists wanted to get there while it still had a gaseous atmosphere.

And while Pluto may not be unique in that respect it is pretty cool. Imagine being a Plutonian and saying, “Okay, everybody, summer’s over. Get ready to hold your breath for more than a century!”


I for one am still upset that they demoted Ceres from being a planet.

those whippersnappers with their fancy new Plutos grumble grumble


I … am I the only one vaguely surprised at how bad the images of Ceres are? I get the difficulty, and tech required, and what not. But … man, you can’t really make out anything other than a) round, b) white dot, c) some lumps (maybe?)


~22 km/px., or .09 mrad = .005 degree = 18 arcsec resolution
Pretty sharp from this distance on a tiny spaceship.


The mission is still 150,000 miles away. Things will get better as they get closer.


Winter is coming.


Yeah, I know. I guess I’ve just been spoiled by some of the other stunning imagery recently, and come to expect it.


Umm, this is Ceres, not Pluto?


Please, it’s “dwarf planet” with the quotes, because apparently Xeni doesn’t take the IAU’s classifications seriously, or she’s really into re-opening debates that were lost 200 years ago for this particular object. :wink:

Personally, I’d like to see planetoid make a comeback.


I had cereal. It wasn’t that exciting.


I thought that the official category was plutoid.


I kinda wish we could have had a time when the solar system had 13 planets. We could have forced kids to learn the names and order of the new ones, come up with new memnotics and rejoiced that the universe was slightly more crowded than we’d realized. And then after a decade or two of really getting to know these objects, then we could demote Pluto down to a mere dwarf. The solar system should feel larger, not smaller because of objects like this one.


That white dot can be nothing other than a massive spaceship.


Er sorry - I got confused. I thought this was by New Horizons on its way to Pluto.


I always wondered where ‘little people’ come from.