NASA’s Dawn space probe has filmed two bright lights on the surface of Ceres. Dwarf planet Ceres’ two bright lights are puzzling scientists as they have no clear idea about what the two lights could be.
Dawn is preparing to enter the orbit of Ceres and the mystery of the two bright lights will soon be resolved.
The largest object in the asteroid belt that lies between Jupiter and Mars, Ceres is also the smallest dwarf plant in our solar system, with a diameter of 1,528 miles (950 km).
The image that has been making the rounds online shows two bright lights, one brighter than the other. The photo was released by NASA on Thursday and it was taken from a distance of 7,429 miles (46,000 kilometers). Scientists believe that the two lights appear to be located in the same basin on Ceres.
Chris Russell, from the Dawn mission, said:
This may be pointing to a volcano-like origin of the spots but we will have to wait for better resolution before we can make such geologic interpretations.
Dawn is going to enter the orbit of Ceres on March 6 and experts expect that the quality of the images received is going to improve as the space probe approaches the dwarf planet. When that happens scientists believe that the origin of the two lights will be unveiled.
Andreas Nathues, the scientist who is in charge of Dawn’s camera said that right now the brightest spot of the two is still too small to figure out with the camera. Even if much cannot be said about it, it is still brighter than anything else that is on Ceres. He added that the bright lights are a mystery to the team and were truly unexpected.
The Dawn space probe was launched in 2007 and its purpose is to investigate the two largest bodies in the Jupiter-Mars asteroid belt.
In 2011, Dawn explored Vesta, a giant asteroid with a diameter of around 326 miles (525 kilometers) and provided the team on Earth with images and measurements. In 2012, the space probe left Vesta’s orbit and began heading out to Ceres.
In 2012, scientists detected water vapor from Ceres and NASA calimed that the surface of the dwarf planet contains water-bearing minerals.
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