Planets and Moons  ID: 4475

Permanent Shadows on Ceres

In a new study published in Geophysical Research Letters, lead author Norbert Schorghofer (Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii) and six other scientists identify permanently shadowed regions (PSRs) near the north pole of dwarf planet Ceres, using data gathered by the Dawn spacecraft.

Dawn arrived at Ceres in March of 2015. Since then, its Framing Camera (FC) instrument has photographed the entire surface of Ceres at resolutions down to 62 meters per pixel. Scientists at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, or DLR) have used stereo pairs of FC images to create a global digital terrain map (DTM) of the dwarf planet.

The authors of the PSR study used the Ceres DTM and a technique called raytracing to find points on the surface of Ceres that never receive direct sunlight. These PSRs are expected to be cold enough to accumulate water ice over long time spans, and future spacecraft visiting Ceres are likely to find fresh water ice there.

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Ernie Wright (USRA): Lead Visualizer
Erwan M. Mazarico (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
Dan Gallagher (USRA): Producer
Sophia Roberts (USRA): Video Editor
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German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Norbert Schorghofer (Institute for Astronomy, Univ. of HI), Erwan Mazarico (NASA GSFC), et al.

Science Paper:
N. Schorghofer et al., The permanently shadowed regions of dwarf planet Ceres, Geophysical Research Letters, 6 July 2016

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Data Used:
Dawn/Framing Camera/Ceres High Sun Global Color Mosaic
Dawn/Framing Camera/Ceres Global Digital Elevation Map
Dawn/Ceres Permanently Shadowed Regions (North)
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SVS >> Asteroid
SVS >> Elevation data
SVS >> Hyperwall
SVS >> Planets
SVS >> Shadowed Regions
NASA Science >> Planets and Moons
SVS >> Dawn

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