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Ceres' Odd Bright Spots Coming Into Focus (Photos)



Ceres' Odd Bright Spots Coming Into Focus (Photos)
by Mike Wall, Space.com Senior Writer | June 22, 2015 02:51pm ET


NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image showing a cluster of mysterious bright spots on dwarf planet Ceres from an altitude of 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers), on June 9, 2015.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
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NASA's Dawn spacecraft has beamed home the best-ever photo of the mysterious bright spots that speckle the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres.

The new image resolves Ceres' strange spots, which are found inside a crater about 55 miles (90 kilometers) wide, into a cluster comprised of several patches, some of which were not visible in previous photos. But it doesn't solve the mystery of the spots' origin and composition.

"At least eight spots can be seen next to the largest bright area, which scientists think is approximately 6 miles (9 km) wide," NASA officials wrote in a statement today (June 22). "A highly reflective material is responsible for these spots — ice and salt are leading possibilities, but scientists are considering other options, too." [More Photos of the Dwarf Planet Ceres]



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