Dawn's better look at the bright spots on Ceres

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Curiosity Science Physics Dawn's better look at the bright spots on Ceres

  • Dawn spacecraft has sent another set of latest images of these bright spots. People at NASA suggests that it could primarily be ice or geysers.

    Any other different theories on what this could be?

  • The bright spots have an albedo higher than that of the Ceres, four times I guess! So mostly, it should be one of the hypotheses scientists at NASA already have (I believe it’s the ice) or something artificially interesting. I’d really go crazy if that’s an artificial stuff. We’ll have to wait for a closer analysis from Dawn. Sit tight.. Farhan :) Dawn is getting closer to Ceres…

  • That is a crater and obviously my bets are on an asteroid impact that would have exposed some mineral beneath. As a fallback opinion, I’d go with the Cryovolcano speculation. As far as I see, those spots are clearly not reflecting light. They seem to emit light. And only an Ice volcano can fit in this definition.

    • That’s actually just one instrument, called as the VIR (Visible and Infrared Spectrometer). In order to analyze the emission/absorption spectrum precisely, the spacecraft must be closer to the spots. So, only by reaching a favorable (designated) orbit, VIR could be able to determine the nature of those spots.

  • Update: A new investigation suggests that the bright spots are locally sublimating materials into the atmosphere engulfing the Occator crater. So the ice volcano theory is probably true guys. This gets interesting.

  • And we are close today. Dawn spacecraft has taken us this photograph from an orbit of 1470 kilometers.

    A mountain on Ceres, located in the southern hemisphere. Stands about 6 kilometers high.

  • That’s one rough terrain. That crater on the right is weirdly shiny. What about those two white dots? Any closer pics of that?

    • Does that look like a ‘DOT’ to you? It is not mapped yet. It takes 11 days to map the whole planet and I read that it will do it multiple times. Maybe NASA will receive an ultra clear image of the white spots in a few days.

  • I was right. :) Or I will be… This is the current composite stitch of the images from Ceres. The spots are much brighter. To add, here is a video of the topography of the Occator crater:

  • More detailed images are here now. Here is an enhanced version of the image showing the bright spots in much higher definition.

    enter image description here

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