Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2016 March 19
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3D Ahuna Mons
Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, UCLA, MPS/DLR/IDA

Explanation: Get out your red/blue glasses and gaze across Ceres at mysterious mountain Ahuna Mons. Shown in a 3D anaglyph perspective view, the mosaicked image data was captured in December of 2015, taken from the Dawn spacecraft's low-altitude mapping orbit about 385 kilometers above the surface of the dwarf planet. A remarkable dome-shaped feature on Ceres, with steep, smooth sides Ahuna Mons is about 20 kilometers (12 miles) in diameter at its base, rising on average 4 kilometers to a flattened summit. Similar in size to mountains found on planet Earth, no other Cerean surface feature is so tall and well-defined. It is not known what process shaped the lonely Ahuna Mons, or if the bright material streaking its steepest side is the same material responsible for Ceres' famous bright spots.

Tomorrow's picture: equinox: past the end of the road

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
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