PIA21403: Ceres' Southern Hemisphere (Navigation Image)

Ceres’ Southern Hemisphere (Navigation Image)


NASA's Dawn spacecraft took this picture as it reached its new orbit to observe Ceres in opposition, when Dawn is directly between the sun and the Occator Crater bright spots. Entering the very tight opposition geometry (explained here) is a major feat that requires extra checks for increased delivery accuracy. Hence, this picture was part of a series of images intended to help the navigation of the spacecraft relative to Ceres.

This vantage point highlights the southern hemisphere of Ceres. Abundant polygonal craters can be seen, starting with Kerwan, Ceres' largest crater at 174 miles (280 kilometers) in diameter, in the upper right of Ceres' circular disc. Kerwan's rims appear subdued and its floor is relatively relaxed. The crater found almost in the "bullseye" of the crater is called Insitor (16 miles or 26 kilometers in diameter).

The Inamahari and Homshuk craters featured here can be found at the top of the disc. Another large polygonal crater called Chaminuka (76 miles, 122 kilometers in diameter) is found toward the center. This map can be used to locate these and more features.

The name "Kerwan" refers to the Hopi spirit of sprouting maize and "Chaminuka" to the Shona (Zimbabwe) spirit who provides rains in times of droughts. "Insitor" is named for the Roman agricultural deity in charge of the sowing.

This picture was taken on April 17, 2017, from an altitude of about 28,000 miles (45,000 kilometers).

Background Info:

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, the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, the Italian Space Agency and the Italian National Astrophysical Institute are international partners on the mission team. For a complete list of mission participants, see http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission .

For more information about the Dawn mission, visit http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov .

Cataloging Keywords:

Name Value Additional Values
Target 1 Ceres
System Main Belt
Target Type Dwarf Planet Asteroid
Mission Dawn
Instrument Host Dawn
Host Type Orbiter
Instrument Framing Camera (FC)
Extra Keywords Crater, Grayscale, Map
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2017-04-21
Date in Caption 2017-04-17
Image Credit NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA21403
Identifier PIA21403