Dramatic Clips: The Mystery Bright Spots On Ceres

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft flew by the dwarf planet Ceres this week. Located between Mars and Jupiter,  Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt.

Dawn took some stunning pictures.  NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory made an animation from the images:

Animation of Ceres

Then ZLD zeroed in on the bright spots so we could get a good look:



Scientists are still trying to figure out what’s causing the bright spots … theories being floated are ice, salt, etc.

What do you think the bright spots are: Ice? Salt? Alien disco party? Death Star being powered up?

Update: The new flyby images are making scientists lean towards plain old water ice (as opposed to nastier frozen substances which have been found on other planets).

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  • Davathm

    “I knew I forgot to do something before I left.”

    • colinjames71

      Ha ha good one

  • Jim G

    looks like a space base of an alien race.

  • colinjames71

    If it’s ice reflecting sunlight why does the brightness stay the same during well over half of a rotation? The sun isn’t moving relative to Ceres and I don’t think the craft is moving much in that time frame either. Correct me if I’m wrong but a reflection would have a predictable brightness from first exposure to its final moment in the sun right? Once again, standard institutional science is faced with an unpredicted anomaly which it will struggle to answer and which some vague, unprovable ad hoc theory will be hypothesized as the explanation. Also considering how far out in space it is, seems awful bright. Lack of an atmosphere may account for that, I don’t know. Anyway, for a laugh you may want to check YouTube for videos purportedly showing alien cities on extreme close ups of digital images at a mile per pixel. Then read the comments. Wow. Edit* make that near one half of a rotation.

    • pear

      Not gonna lie, I’m a bit obsessed with this weird reflection. So, I was kinda wondering the same with the ice. There is an older animation from last month were it looks like on of the spots is still partially iluminated when it rotates into darkness, but I wasn’t able to find a good still of it so I wouldn’t totally vouch for it. I think I read last week that the selectivity of Ceres is under 10%, where Vesta is something like 65% and that could account for the “pop” of brightness. What I think is strange is, if you get the still that Nasa put out yesterday, http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/new, there are 3 large black spots connecting the 2 largest bright spots and another dark spot by the other smaller bright spot. The dark spots create a triangular shape. The dark areas look like holes, maybe a channel if you want to stretch. Weird.

      • colinjames71

        Hey that’s cool I’m an electric universe nut so I totally get it. If you haven’t yet you should check out Thunderbolts Project on YouTube. Fascinating. I’m taking a wait and see approach with the spots, I got all excited about the Mars comet close approach and nothing, then Rosetta and the Lander went tits up. Keeping my expectations low this time so I’m not disappointed if it’s something less than thrilling.

        • pear

          Thanks for the recommend. I had not been introduced to this theory before, but am intrigued. I know it sounds strange, but I think of electricity a lot. I watched the video below and immidiately thought of thsi program I watched the other day. “What on Earth S2E3” There is a story about this area in S America that has been sat photoed with very bright spots, that researchers reported to have one of the heaviest concentrations of lightingin on the planet. I can’t believe I wasn’t on this tangent earlier.

          • colinjames71

            I’d recommend starting with the documentaries, specifically Thunderbolts of the Gods first, then Symbols of an Alien Sky. Where you go from there, assuming you get hooked, up to you, there’s just a ton of videos and podcasts and conference presentations on all kinds of subjects. Hope you like it.

  • Lynn Walker

    You’re assuming that the images are real, which, when regarding NASA propaganda, is always a fool’s pastime. How many of you still believe the universe began with a big bang? Would you believe that today’s top theoretical physicists left that stupid idea behind decades ago, yet by popular perception you’d think it was confirmed science. Watch the hand closely, closer, closer still. Now which one contains the pea?

    • Lynn Balker

      Shut up you moronic idiot.

      • Muhammad Abbass

        His understanding is lightyears ahead of yours, it is you who is the fool.

    • Religion Sucks

      Quiet christian, no one wants to hear anything from your stone age mind. There is nothing left to teach you people because you live in your own reality. Take your 4,000 year old universe theory and begone.

  • Birgit

    Want a decent explanation? Look at this:


  • epieye

    An iridescent mineral deposited by a meteorite’s impact.

  • oooorgle

    Are Bright Spots on Ceres Electric?

    • oooorgle

      Doh! didn’t see Birgit already posted this. Sorry.

  • Herbert Dorsey

    Perhaps it is a Solar Warden Base, as discussed in the nonfiction book “Secret Science and the Secret Space Program.”

  • Noog

    Look humans, stop looking at the bright spots, there is nothing there. They are optical illusions and that is all. Now, go back to watching TV and playing with your cell phones.

  • Badger Badgerism

    more Nasa cgi……yawn