Image Gallery: new views of mystery bright spots on Ceres

The most well-known bright spots, now seen to be multiple small spots. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
The most well-known bright spots, now seen to be multiple small spots. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Some new views of Ceres were released today from the Dawn spacecraft, which include the now-famous mystery bright spots, as well as some new spots not seen before. The most prominent “double spot” as previously viewed, can now be seen to be multiple spots of various sizes.

What they are still isn’t known, but:

“Dawn scientists can now conclude that the intense brightness of these spots is due to the reflection of sunlight by highly reflective material on the surface, possibly ice,” said Christopher Russell, principal investigator for the Dawn mission from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Leading theories right now are ice or salts. Or maybe alien solar panels. 😉

An animation of Ceres rotating is also here.

Closer view of the most prominent bright spots. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Closer view of the most prominent bright spots. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Other bight spots in the new images. Image processing by Stuart Atkinson. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/Stuart Atkinson
Other bright spots in the new images. Image processing by Stuart Atkinson. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/Stuart Atkinson

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