The Mysterious Spots of Ceres

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Image Credit & Copyright: NASA Dawn Spacecraft.

I just wanted to take a moment and show off a new close image of dwarf planet Ceres’s mysterious spots.  Way back when Hubble imaged Ceres, it appeared to be a single, large white spot.  As we drew closer to the dwarf planet it became clear that the single large spot was, in fact at least two smaller white spots within a crater.  Last month more images from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft revealed smaller spots in close proximity to the two larger ones bringing the apparent total to five.

Well this past week, Dawn gave us a new set of images.  This time the images were taken from a relatively close 2,700 miles (4,400 km).  These new images reveal the smaller spots in greater detail and that has enabled us to resolve a few more.  It appears now that the spot count is roughly eight.  That’s three more than in the previous Dawn image of the area.

This isn’t a small area either.  The crater that the spots reside in is about 55 miles (90 km) in diameter!

As far as what they are well, we still have no idea but NASA is looking for your best guess.  Hit the links below to check out this image, information and vote for what you think the spot is.  The main image in this post is the NASA release and the darker smaller one I have altered and f you enlarge and expand it, it allows you to get a decent look at the details.

New images of Ceres’s spots: http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/bright-spots-shine-in-newest-dawn-ceres-images

What do you think Ceres’s spots are?  Vote! http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/dawn/world_ceres/

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