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Rolf Olsen | all galleries >> Astrophotography >> Planets > Motion of dwarf planet Ceres
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Motion of dwarf planet Ceres

This image shows the dwarf planet Ceres near opposition in Sagittarius. Ceres is the largest body in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, having a diameter of 950 kms. It completes an orbit in 4.6 years and has a rotational period of 9 hours and 4 minutes.
At a maximum magnitude of 6.8 Ceres is not visible to the naked eye, unless perhaps viewed under exceptionally dark skies. It was discovered in 1801 by the italian Giuseppe Piazzi.
It is thought that Ceres is likely a surviving protoplanet which formed 4.57 billion years ago in the asteroid belt. While the majority of inner solar system protoplanets (including all lunar- to Mars-sized bodies) either merged with other protoplanets to form terrestrial planets or were ejected from the Solar System by Jupiter, Ceres is believed to have survived relatively intact. The NASA Dawn space probe is currently en route to explore both Vesta in 2011 and Ceres in 2015.

OPTICS 10" Newtonian f/5
MOUNT Losmandy G11 equatorial
CAMERA Philips ToUCam Pro SC1 webcam
EXPOSURE 66 x 15.5 s
DATE/TIME 17/06/2010
LOCATION My backyard observatory in west Auckland, New Zealand

Below is a high definition video of the raw frames showing the motion of Ceres across the sky during just a little over 15 minutes.

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