BDanielMayfield wrote:THX1138 wrote:I'm not understanding why pictures were available all the way up until Dawn was close enough to see the rock up close, in orbit. Now that its close enough to see what the bright spots are................We have to wait????
Just listened to the press conference Rob linked to and the real reason they kept giving for the delay in new photos coming out is that Dawn is now orbiting on the "dark side" of Ceres. The higher the orbit and the lower the mass of the body being orbited, the slower the orbit. Dawn will be over the sunlit side of Ceres in April.
To add to Bruce's comment, here's a snippet from a mid-February article:
AmericaSpace wrote:And because of the angle of the approach trajectory, Ceres will not be very illuminated until the end of April when Dawn reaches its initial science altitude orbit of about 8,400 miles (13,500 kilometers).
Dawn’s next imaging session is scheduled for early March, but likely won’t reveal much more.
“The next images will be a little bit better. But the resolution doesn’t get much better until late April!” Russell explained.