A new animation of the dwarf planet Ceres by the Dawn spacecraft gives insight into the mysterious bright spots seen on the surface. The animation is assembled from a series of images taken by Dawn in its RC3 mapping orbit of Ceres. Principal investigator for the Dawn mission Christopher Russell says the images show that the bright spots are caused by sunlight being reflected off materials on the surface, potentially ice.
For anyone curious about the distinction between planets and dwarf planets, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has produced a short animation explaining the difference.
image via NASA