On May 8th, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft successfully completed its final observations in this mapping orbit, focusing on Ceres’ southern hemisphere. It is transmitting the pictures and other scientific data to Earth now.
It takes about 15 days to make one orbital revolution around Ceres at this altitude (8,400 miles, or 13,600 kilometres). On May 8th, the spacecraft completed one revolution since its arrival in this orbit on April 23rd and has started ion-thrusting to spiral down to its second mapping orbit.
This image of Ceres is part of a sequence taken by Dawn’s Framing Camera on May 4th, 2015, from a distance of 8,400 miles (13,600 kilometres) when the spacecraft was orbiting over the side of Ceres illuminated by the Sun, collecting images and spectra of the dwarf planet’s northern hemisphere.