Wow, check this out! The 590-mile-wide dwarf planet Ceres is seen rotating in this GIF animation made from the latest images from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, taken over the course of an hour on January 13, 2015.
Dawn was 238,000 miles (383,000 km) from Ceres when the images were taken, and although only 27 pixels across various light and dark regions are plainly visible on Ceres. While these aren’t yet the best images of Ceres ever acquired (Hubble took those in Jan. 2004) they’re very close, and by the end of this month Dawn will be getting even better images as it continues its approach. It’s just a tantalizing hint of what’s to come!
“We know so much about the solar system and yet so little about dwarf planet Ceres. Now, Dawn is ready to change that.”
– Marc Rayman, Dawn’s chief engineer and mission director.