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Here's what Ceres would look like, if you could actually see it

A color image of the fascinating dwarf planet shows how it would appear to the naked eye.

Ceres in color is still pretty gray.


NASA's Dawn spacecraft has brought us closer than ever to dwarf planet Ceres. What's harder to tell is how Ceres would look if we were right there with Dawn, staring out a window and taking in the dwarf planet with the naked eye. Researchers released a new color image on Friday that gives us that sort of perspective.

The image came about thanks to the work of the German Aerospace Center in Berlin. It "combines images taken during Dawn's first science orbit in 2015 using the framing camera's red, green and blue spectral filters," according to NASA.

What's noticeable here is how Ceres still looks fairly drab. It doesn't have a distinctive hue like the reddish look of Mars, but rather dwells in a gray-beige spectrum with spots of lighter, brighter material dotted across the surface.

Ceres is home to some unusual craters, fascinating bright spots and a pyramid-shaped mountain. The Dawn mission launched in 2007 and first investigated the protoplanet Vesta before heading on to Ceres. It arrived at the dwarf planet in 2015 and is still in orbit, making observations and sending data back to Earth.