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NASA’s Dawn Probe Focuses on a Different Mystery Spot on Ceres

Image: Spot 1 on Ceres
This image, taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, shows dwarf planet Ceres from an altitude of 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers). The June 6 image has a resolution of 1,400 feet (410 meters) per pixel. NASA / JPL-Caltech / UCLA / MPS / DLR / IDA

Now here's a spot of a different color: The latest picture released by the science team for NASA's Dawn mission shows a bright patch on the dwarf planet Ceres that's distinct from the eerie "alien headlights" seen in other imagery.

The best-known collection of bright spots on Ceres is known as "Spot 5," and the best guess is that those spots are made of ice deposits — although scientists haven't completely ruled out the possibility that they're made of salt or some other light-colored material.

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Related: Ceres' White Spots Shine in New Pic

The picture released on Tuesday focuses on another bright area called Spot 1. The image was captured on June 6 from an altitude of 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers).

Dawn's scientists say Spot 1 is as much a mystery as the more famous Spot 5:

The picture sparked a fair amount of discussion on Twitter, focusing on what appears to be a bright ray pattern fanning out from Spot 1's crater. Could the bright stuff be subsurface water ice that was exposed and blasted away by a cosmic impact? Stay tuned for the answer: Dawn is sure to be taking an even closer look at Spot 1, Spot 5 and Ceres' other mysteries in the months ahead.