The Closest Look Yet at Ceres' Many Bright Spots

Illustration for article titled The Closest Look Yet at Ceres Many Bright Spots

Earlier this month we discovered that Ceres’ pair of mysterious bright spots were, in fact, not two—they were many, many more. Now, we’ve got the closest look yet of the spots thanks to NASA’s Dawn mission.

This image, captured on May 16th, show a group of the brightest spots on the dwarf planet. Taken from a distance of 4,500 miles, each pixel represents 2,250 feet (0.4 miles). “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, one of the Dawn mission researchers, recently. All that said, scientists still don’t really know what the spots are made of. We’re still gonna need to get closer to find out. [NASA]

Image by NASA

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There’s a book by Alastair Reynolds called Pushing Ice where humanity discovers that one of Saturn’s moons was an alien structure and when they go to explore it, it takes off into deep space with the humans on it still. It’s an excellent book and I hope this is what’s happening here.