Dawn provides a new perspective on Ceres’ Occator Crater


This simulated perspective view shows Occator Crater, measuring 92 kilometres (57 miles) across and 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) deep, which contains the brightest area on Ceres. This region has been the subject of intense interest since Dawn’s approach to the dwarf planet in early 2015. This view, which faces north, was made using images from Dawn’s low-altitude mapping orbit, 385 kilometres (240 miles) above Ceres.

Dawn’s close-up view reveals a dome in a smooth-walled pit in the bright center of the crater. Numerous linear features and fractures crisscross the top and flanks of this dome. Prominent fractures also surround the dome and run through smaller, bright regions found within the crater. The central dome area is called Cerealia Facula and the dimmer bright areas are called Vinalia Faculae.

A second simulated perspective view, facing south. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA.