Location of Photo:
Mayhill, NM USA remotely from La Jolla, CA USA
Date/Time of photo:
January 27, 2018 at 0300 MST
300 sec image with 500 mm reflecting telescope and monochrome camera with luminous filter.
This is the dwarf planet, Ceres. On February 1, 2018, Earth came closest to Ceres for this year, 1.6 astronomical units (149 million miles), and shined at its brightest in our sky. Ceres, about the size of Texas, was discovered in 1801, and is one of five recognized dwarf planets to reside within the inner solar system. Ceres accounts for a full one-quarter of the mass in the asteroid belt, which consists of hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions) of tiny worlds circling the sun between the planets Mars and Jupiter. Although not visible to the eye alone, Ceres is a fairly easy binocular object (http://earthsky.org/…/dwarf-planet-ceres-in-constellation-c…).