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NASA Lunar Science Institute 11 May 2015, 18:32 UTC The mysterious bright spots on the dwarf planet Ceres are better resolved in a new sequence of images taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft on May 3 and 4, 2015. The images were taken from a distance of 8,400 miles (13,600 kilometers). This animation shows a sequence of images taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft on May 4, 2015, from a distance of 8,400 miles (13,600 kilometers), in its RC3 mapping orbit. The image resolution is 0.8 mile (1.3 kilometers) per pixel. Credit: NASA In this closest-yet view, the brightest spots within a crater in the northern hemisphere are revealed to be composed of many smaller spots. However, their exact nature remains unknown. “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. These images offer scientists new insights into crater shapes and sizes, and a host of other intriguing geological features on the surface. Dwarf planets are a lot like regular planets. What’s the big difference? Find out in 60 seconds. Credit: NASA JPL Dawn has now ...
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