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Now we have an even better view of Ceres and its mysterious white spot

One of several images NASA's Dawn spacecraft took on approach to Ceres on Feb. 4, 2015 at a distance of about 90,000 miles from the dwarf planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)
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Remember how last week NASA released the best-ever image of Ceres, a dwarf planet between Mars and Jupiter? Well now we've got a better one. Welcome to the future, people. These are exciting times.

And what a world this dwarf planet is: In March, NASA's Dawn spacecraft (which is taking these ever-improving images) will make it the first dwarf planet to encounter a probe. Scientists are interested in the unique way it formed, and they think it may once have had an ocean. There's probably still water there.

The latest pictures were taken on Feb. 4 at a distance of about 90,000 miles from Ceres. The resolution is now 8.5 miles per pixel, and will obviously continue to improve as the spacecraft approaches the planet's orbit.

The white dot that comes into view as Ceres spins is something scientists are particularly interested in getting a look at. It's becoming more and more clear, and is definitely reflecting more light than the terrain surrounding it -- but for now, NASA researchers have no idea what it is. Good thing we're about to get even closer!