. . . The new photos were taken when Dawn was about 14,000 miles (22,500 kilometers) above Ceres' north pole, NASA officials said. It's still unclear what, exactly, the white spots are. (Scientists suspect they're deposits of either water ice or salts.)
The bright spots' makeup is just one of many mysteries Dawn will explore with the beginning of intensive observations on April 23. Those initial observations will be made from a circular orbit about 8,400 miles (13,500 km) above the dwarf planet's surface. Then, on May 9, Dawn will begin spiraling closer, to get even better views of Ceres, which, at 590 miles (950 km) wide, is the largest denizen of the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. . . .
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