Observation::Ceres (dwarf planet)


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When Ceres has an opposition near the perihelion, it can reach a visual magnitude of +6.7.<ref name="Pasachoff1983">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> This is generally regarded as too dim to be seen with the naked eye, but under exceptional viewing conditions a very sharp-sighted person may be able to see it. Ceres was at its brightest (6.73) on 18 December 2012.<ref name="fact3">APmag and AngSize generated with Horizons (Ephemeris: Observer Table: Quantities = 9,13,20,29) Archived at WebCite</ref> The only other asteroids that can reach a similarly bright magnitude are 4 Vesta, and, during rare oppositions near perihelion, 2 Pallas and 7 Iris.<ref>Martinez, Patrick, The Observer's Guide to Astronomy, page 298. Published 1994 by Cambridge University Press</ref> At a conjunction Ceres has a magnitude of around +9.3, which corresponds to the faintest objects visible with 10×50 binoculars. It can thus be seen with binoculars whenever it is above the horizon of a fully dark sky.

Some notable observations and milestones for Ceres include:

  • 1984 November 13: An occultation of a star by Ceres observed in Mexico, Florida and across the Caribbean.<ref name="Millis1987">{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation

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  • 2003 and 2004: Visible light images with 30 km resolution (the best prior to the Dawn mission) taken using Hubble.<ref name="Li2006" /><ref name="Hubbl12003-4" />
  • 2012 December 22: Ceres occulted the star TYC 1865-00446-1 over parts of Japan, Russia, and China.<ref name="asteroid">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation

|CitationClass=web }}</ref> Ceres's brightness was magnitude 6.9 and the star, 12.2.<ref name="asteroid" />

  • 2014: Ceres was found to have an atmosphere with water vapor, confirmed by the Herschel space telescope.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation

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  • 2015: The NASA Dawn spacecraft approached and orbited Ceres, sending detailed images and scientific data back to Earth.

Ceres (dwarf planet) sections
Intro  History  Physical characteristics  Orbit  Origin and evolution  Potential habitability  Observation  Exploration  Maps  Gallery  See also  Notes  References  External links  

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