Latest Images of Ceres Show Its Bright Spot Is Actually Twins!

Here’s your weekly Ceres update! The dwarf planet’s features are coming into better and better focus for the approaching Dawn spacecraft, which will be captured by Ceres’ gravity on March 6. The image above is yet another “best-ever” of Ceres (as will be each one we see now), captured on Feb. 19, 2015, from a distance of…

Hello, Ceres! Dwarf Planet’s Features Come Into Focus

Won’t you look at that! Here’s a view of Ceres captured by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft on Feb. 12, 2015, from a distance of about 52,000 miles (83,000 km). No longer just a grey sphere with some vague bright spots, actual features can now be resolved – craters, mountains, and scarps that quite literally no one has ever…

Dawn Captures the Bestest Images Ever of “Hipster Planet” Ceres

This is the second animation from Dawn this year showing Ceres rotating, and at 43 pixels across the images are officially the best ever obtained! NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is now on final approach to the 590-mile-wide dwarf planet Ceres, the largest world in the main asteroid belt and the biggest object in the inner Solar System that has yet to…

Hello, Ceres! Dawn Returns Images of Dwarf Planet Spinning

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…

Find Out How “Crazy Engineering” Is Getting Dawn to Ceres

Remember Dawn, the spacecraft that showed us our first close-up images of asteroid/protoplanet Vesta when it entered orbit back in 2011? Well Dawn is still going strong, having left Vesta behind and now closing in on its next target: Ceres, a full-fledged dwarf planet and, at about 600 miles (965 km) wide, the largest object in the main asteroid belt. Once…

A Ceres of Surprises: the Largest Asteroid is a Water World

By now you must know about the jets of ice particles blasting out of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, and maybe have even heard about the recent discovery of water vapor issuing forth from Jupiter’s frozen moon Europa. But now we know of another spray-happy world out there: Ceres, which at 591 miles across is our solar…

It’s Officially 2016 and Officially Time for a New Calendar

If you just looked at your calendar and realized you’re literally out of days (Happy New Year!) then it’s way past time to get yourself a new one. And if you love space, these are the ones you’ll want. Produced by Starry Messenger Press in conjunction with The Planetary Society, the 2016 Year in Space calendar…

What Would it Take to Knock the Moon Out of Orbit?

Whenever there’s news of an asteroid expected to pass closely by Earth (like this one did on Halloween 2015) at least one person will typically ask “what if it hit the Moon?” (as if that’s a scenario that somehow all of the astronomers around the world who specialize in near-Earth asteroids failed to take into…

Water Water Everywhere

Everyone knows that Earth is a “water-world,” with oceans covering 71% of its surface and at least as much contained within our planet’s mantle deep below its crust. But there’s also liquid water to be found elsewhere in the Solar System: on Mars, on the dwarf planets Ceres and Pluto, and also on the icy moons of Jupiter,…

Vesta’s Formation History? It’s Complicated.

Just when scientists thought they had a tidy theory for how the giant asteroid Vesta formed, a new paper from NASA’s Dawn mission suggests the history is more complicated. If Vesta’s formation had followed the script for the formation of rocky planets like our own, heat from the interior would have created distinct, separated layers…

Dione to Join the List of Moons with Underground Oceans?

Earth may display its seas on its surface for all the Universe to see, but further out in the Solar System liquid oceans are kept discreetly under wraps, hidden beneath cratered surfaces of ice and rock. And while Saturn’s moon Enceladus sprays its salty subsurface ocean out into space, other moons are less ostentatious —…