Ceres’ Bright Spots to be Studied

There is something very reflective on the surface of Ceres, the largest object in the Astroid Belt.  The two spots that you see in the picture below have started up the conversations on many space pages. At the moment, no one can say what it is but that hasn’t stopped anyone from making theories about what they are.

Image of Ceres from Dawn spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Image of Ceres from Dawn spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

The reflections that you see above sit inside a 57 mile wide crater on the northern hemisphere of Ceres. One spot is about twice as luminous as the other one, though the brightness of each is “off scale,” Dawn Deputy  Principal Investigator Carol Raymond said. To figure out exactly what these reflective spots are, we will have to be patient. It will require a closer view from Dawn, a view that it should be able to give us on April 23rd, when it spirals down to its first science orbit. Right now the major theories say it is either water vapor or ice, possibly from a subsurface ocean.

Whatever the spots are, I know I’m excited to find out. Seeing space travel and space news make the headlines everyday creates a thrill for me that I love because of the new things that we can learn about a universe that is so big, it’s almost impossible to comprehend.

What do you think the spots could be?

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