NASA’s latest mission began on January 13 and involved the Dawn spacecraft taking photos of Ceres. Although the photos were taken from a very long distance, it is the highest resolution photo ever taken of the dwarf planet Ceres.
The scientists believe that the photo quality will improve as the spacecraft is getting closer to the orbit of Ceres.
In one of the pictures taken by Dawn, the scientists noticed a bright white spot that they cannot explain yet.
Marc Rayman, one of the NASA scientist involved in the Dawn mission, said that they believe there is something on planet Ceres that appears to reflect more sunlight but they cannot say exactly what that is.
Rayman said that he is very intrigued by the unexplained white spot on Ceres and added that once the spacecraft will reach the dwarf planet, they will have more answers regarding the mysterious white spot.
Rayman explained that once Dawn gets closer to Ceres, it will take better resolution pictures and will help the scientists figure out what the mysterious sighting is.
So far, the only thing astronomers know for sure is that there is something on Ceres that reflects more sunlight than the rest of its surrounding surface. As soon as Dawn gets closer to the planet, it will be able to take more focused photos of the destination.
Astronomers are hoping that the Dawn spacecraft will enter Ceres’s orbit around March 6.
The Dawn spacecraft cost approximately $466 million and departed from Earth back in 2007. So far, it has gathered information about the second largest object in the asteroid belt, which is known as Vesta.
According to the scientists, Ceres is a unique planet in our solar system. It’s the largest object in the asteroid belt and scientists refer to it as an asteroid and a dwarf planet.
Ceres is approximately 590 miles across, almost the size of Texas, and scientists say that it’s the smallest of all dwarf planets that exist in our solar system.
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