Astronomers have been trying to figure out the mystery behind the white spots on Ceres, the dwarf planet.
Some theories suggest that the white spots on Ceres are either pieces of ice or a salty substance, but no one really knows for sure what they are.
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has been orbiting Ceres for some time now trying to capture clear images of the dwarf planet.
Recently, the spacecraft has managed to take clearer photos of Ceres from an orbit of about 2,700 miles above it.
According to a report made by NASA on its official site, the largest of the mysterious white spots on Ceres is located inside a crater of approximately 55 miles across.
So far, the experts have not been able to provide a scientific explanation for the white dots on the surface of the dwarf planet that seem to reflect light.
Chris Russell, one of the scientists in charge of the Dawn mission, said that the luminous spots seen on planet Ceres is something that has not been seen before in any mission in the vicinity of our solar system.
Russell said that his team is trying hard to figure out the source of these white spots, and he believes that one of the plausible explanations could be that the light is reflected from an icy surface.
The scientists are also considering other possibilities, like salt as the source of the white spots.
Russell added that thanks to closer views taken from the new orbit that allows to take images from multiple angles, the scientists will eventually be able to identify and determine the nature of the mysterious white spots on dwarf planet Ceres.
The astronomers involved in this mission hope that when Dawn will move towards its new orbit of about 900 miles altitude, they will be able to take clearer photos of the bright spots.
The spacecraft will reach its new orbit at the beginning of August.
In March, Dawn reached a new record as the first spacecraft to visit a dwarf planet.
It also made history for being the first mission to orbit around two different extraterrestrial targets.
When it orbited Vesta, which was the previous target, Dawn managed to take thousands of images which helped the astronomers determine the composition of the asteroid and other properties.
The dwarf planet Ceres is more than 900 kilometers across, a surface bigger than Alaska and Texas combined.
Image Source: slate