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See Ceres as you’ve never seen it before

Image: Ceres
This Dec. 10 image of Ceres shows the area around a crater chain called Gerber Catena,. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft was flying about 240 miles above Ceres when the picture was taken. (Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / UCLA / MPS / DLR / IDA).

Earlier this month we started seeing some of the closest views yet of Pluto, and now it’s time for close-ups from a closer dwarf planet: Ceres.

NASA’s Dawn orbiter has begun delivering pictures of the solar system’s biggest asteroid and smallest known dwarf planet as seen from its closest vantage point, just 240 miles (385 kilometers) above the surface. That’s roughly how high the International Space Station flies above Earth.

One of the more intriguing views released today shows the area around a crater chain called Gerber Catena. Get out your red-blue glasses, and you can easily spot a trough running through a 3-D view of the terrain.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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