This 3-D image, or anaglyph, shows the center of Occator Crater, the brightest area on dwarf planet Ceres, using data from NASA's Dawn mission. The bright central area, including a dome that is 0.25 miles (400 meters) high, is called Cerealia Facula. The secondary, scattered bright areas are called Vinalia Faculae.
A 2017 study suggests that the central bright area is significantly younger than Occator Crater. Estimates put Cerealia Facula at 4 million years old, while Occator Crater is approximately 34 million years old.
The reflective material that appears so bright in this image is made of carbonate salts, according to Dawn researchers. The Vinalia Faculae seem to be composed of carbonates mixed with dark material.
A broader, high-resolution view of this area is shown in PIA20350.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.