NASA's Dawn spacecraft Finds Mysterious Bright Spot on Dwarf Planet Ceres
A mysterious, glimmering white spot found on the dwarf planet Ceres by a NASA spacecraft has researchers scratching their heads. The white blotch on Ceres is clearly visible in a sequence of recent photos captured on Jan. 13 by NASA's Dawn spacecraft. NASA's Dawn spacecraft is rapidly approaching the dwarf planet Ceres in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. But when the final photo issued on Monday (Jan. 19), the Dawn researchers gave no clue of what the white dot might be. The recent images display regions of light and dark on the face of Ceres, which show surface landscapes like craters. But right now, none of the specific features can be determined, counting the white spot. Ceres is a distinctive object in our solar system. It is the biggest object in the asteroid belt and is categorized as an asteroid. It is at the same time categorized as a dwarf planet and at 590 miles across (950 kilometers). Ceres is the smallest identified dwarf planet in the entire solar system.
A strange white spot can be observed in the recent photos from NASA's Dawn space telescope, which is on its way towards the dwarf planet.
The $466 million Dawn spacecraft is projected to move into the orbit around Ceres on March 6. Dawn left Earth’s orbit in 2007 and in the summer of 2011, it completed a year-long pit stop at the asteroid Vesta, the second biggest body in the asteroid belt. While Vesta shared several properties with our solar system's inner planets, researchers with the Dawn mission doubt that Ceres has more in common with the outer most planets. 25 percent of Ceres' mass is believed to be composed of water, which indicates the space rock comprises even more water than Earth. Researchers have observed water vapor trails blowing up off the surface of Ceres, which may erupt from volcano-like ice springs.
The mysterious white spot caught by the Dawn probe is one another questioning feature of this already interesting object.
NASA's Dawn spacecraft Finds Mysterious Bright Spot on Dwarf Planet Ceres Reviewed by Umer Abrar on 1/27/2015 Rating: