SEP 10, 2015 8:14 AM PDT

NASA's Dawn Spacecraft Gets Clear View of Ceres' Mysterious Bright Spots

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is keeping its eye on Ceres, a dwarf planet in the middle of the Asteroid Belt in between the planets of Mars and Jupiter. It wasn’t long ago that NASA released images that Dawn took of a strange conical mountain on the dwarf planet.
 
Recent images from Ceres taken by the Dawn spacecraft from just about 915 miles away are revealing specific objects on the dwarf planet’s surface that scientists are finding very intriguing.
NASA's Dawn spacecraft has snapped high-resolution images of the bright spots on Ceres.
There are bright spots on Ceres’ surface that the new close-up photographs aim to shed some light on. These are the clearest and highest-resolution photographs ever shot of the bright spots on Ceres’ surface.
 
The bright spots appear in the center of a crater on the dwarf planet known as the Occator crater. The new images give scientists a closer look at these unusual spots at a resolution that NASA says is equivalent to 450 feet per pixel.

NASA notes in their announcement that the firm actually took two separate photographs to try and learn more about these bright spots; one at a higher exposure and one and a lower exposure, to ensure all of the details of the spots and the surrounding terrain would be captured.
 
While there is still no concrete answer about where these bright spots came from, scientists will continue to analyze the bright spots for clues. The crater that the bright spots are located in is a very unusual crater because some of the inclines of the crater are actually vertical (straight up and down) instead of at a steep angle.
 
The Dawn spacecraft has been mapping the surface of Ceres for a while in the hopes to help scientists learn more about the dwarf planet, as well as any key information that could help reveal how our solar system was formed. These mapping processes will construct a 3D diagram of Ceres’ entire surface, giving scientists something more tangible to look at.
 
“Dawn has transformed what was so recently a few bright dots into a complex and beautiful, gleaming landscape," said Marc Rayman, Dawn's chief engineer and mission director based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "Soon, the scientific analysis will reveal the geological and chemical nature of this mysterious and mesmerizing extraterrestrial scenery.”
 
Below, you can watch a 3D representation of Occator crater on Ceres, created by the Dawn spacecraft:



Source: NASA

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
OCT 03, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
New observations on supermassive black holes
OCT 03, 2020
New observations on supermassive black holes
New observations from the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) provide insight on how supermas ...
DEC 12, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Superhighways in Space Enable Super Fast Travel Between Planets
DEC 12, 2020
Superhighways in Space Enable Super Fast Travel Between Planets
Astronomers from Serbia have found that invisible structures created by gravitational interaction in our Solar System ge ...
JAN 04, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Did Intelligent Civilizations Roam Our Galaxy 5 Billion Years Ago?
JAN 04, 2021
Did Intelligent Civilizations Roam Our Galaxy 5 Billion Years Ago?
Researchers have found that there were likely many intelligent alien civilizations sprawled across our galaxy billions o ...
JAN 24, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
ALMA observations give insight into the formation of stars
JAN 24, 2021
ALMA observations give insight into the formation of stars
New research published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics gives new insight into the mystery behind how stars f ...
APR 13, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Think again: does the presence of oxygen really mean life on other planets?
APR 13, 2021
Think again: does the presence of oxygen really mean life on other planets?
Does the presence of oxygen mean the existence of life? That’s a question that scientists have been debating over ...
APR 21, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Zooming Back From a Black Hole
APR 21, 2021
Zooming Back From a Black Hole
The first images ever taken of a black hole were released in April 2019. The images were captured with the Event Horizon ...
Loading Comments...