Close up of massive crater on Ceres.
Source: NASA/Moore Boeck
Published: August 16, 2018

Version B of the Ceres installment of our solar system poster series.

The posters are best printed on 11x17 paper. Several download options are available in the column on the right.

About the image: This view of Ceres, taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft in December 2015, shows an area in the southern hemisphere of the dwarf planet. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

On the Back

Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. In fact, it makes up 30 percent of the asteroid belt's total mass.

Back of Ceres poster with scale comparison and orbit diagram
Optional back with a brief summary and orbit diagram.

Ceres is heavily cratered, with no atmosphere, and large amounts of ice underground mixed with rock and salt. It also has a huge volcano that likely once erupted with salt and mud, and a crater with prominent bright, salty deposits — suggesting the icy subsurface has erupted in the past and could still be active.

When Giuseppe Piazzi spotted it in 1801, he thought Ceres might be a comet—but it turned out that he had discovered the first member of the asteroid belt.

Although it was classified as an asteroid for many years, Ceres is so much bigger and so different from its rocky neighbors that scientists re-classified it as a dwarf planet in 2006. Ceres is the only dwarf planet located in the inner solar system (the rest are beyond the orbit of Neptune).

Ceres is named for the Roman goddess of agriculture. The word “cereal” comes from the same origin.

Explore Ceres in depth at https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/ceres

ENLARGE

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