Images of Vesta from the Dawn Spacecraft Mission to Ceres

One of the new images of Vesta from Dawn, July 2011

by Anura Guruge

Vesta, an asteroid, which like Ceres (another former asteroid), was considered a planet in the early 19th century is not a dwarf planet as such. But, it, of similar size to Ceres, is on the list of dwarf planet candidates.

The NASA space mission Dawn, on its way to Ceres, is spending a full-year around Vesta studying it at a level of detail that has never been afforded an asteroid in the past. Amazing images and videos are getting beamed back to NASA from Dawn.

Here is a slide show of some of the Vesta images compiled by AP — but remember these are NASA/Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) images and as such are public domain material.

You can find a NASA Vesta full-rotation video here.

Also just go to and search on Vesta.

I have a lot of material on Vesta, Ceres and the Dawm mission, with a flight path diagram, in my ‘Dwarf Planet’ book.


New Moon Discovered Orbiting Pluto

by Anura Guruge

On July 18, 2011, NASA scientist using Hubble Telescope images to research the possibility of a faint ring around Pluto discovered a fourth moon — provisionally designated P4. It has an orbit in between that of the other two small moons, Nix and Hydra [page 67 of Devanee’s book.]

Here is NASA’s initial depiction of the orbits — bearing in mind that Pluto and Charon can be thought of as a binary system since Charon does not orbit around Pluto per se, with both orbiting around a common point well outside of the boundaries of both bodies. [page 40].

NASA's initial depiction of the NEW P4. Note that Charon's orbit 'around' Pluto isn't exactly as shown.

New Book On Dwarf Planets (By Anura Guruge) Now Available On Amazon

by Anura Guruge

This is a full-color, heavily illustrated 108 page (7″ x 10″) book meant to be a guide book for pre- and early teens, as well as their parents and teachers, on dwarf planets — the new category of celestial objects in our Solar System which now includes Pluto. It is now available from Amazon for $16.99 (with possibility of free super saver shipping).

Dwarf planet book by Anura Guruge

Dwarf planet book by Anura Guruge

This is the Table of Contents: