NASA's Dawn orbiter is currently circling the dwarf planet Ceres from a height of about 1,200 miles. That's the closest it has ever gotten to the mysterious world, which has been teasing us with glimpses of strange, glowing white dots for quite some time.

We're still not sure what those spots are. Some at NASA think they're salt plains the likes of which you'd find in a hot desert, and others think they're some kind of ice. We just can't be sure until the spacecraft takes atmospheric data from closer to the planet's surface.

"The science team is continuing to evaluate the data and discuss theories about these bright spots at Occator," Chris Russell, Dawn's principal investigator, said in a statement. The reflectivity of the spots isn't consistent with ice, but that could just be because Dawn hasn't collected good data yet. "We are now comparing the spots with the reflective properties of salt, but we are still puzzled by their source. We look forward to new, higher-resolution data from the mission's next orbital phase," Russell said.

For now, enjoy the above video from NASA: A sweeping tour of the dwarf planet's surface as seen in recent images. You'll get stereoscopic views of Ceres's most mysterious features -- its spots, obviously, but also its weird, pyramid-like mountain. That peak stands four miles high, and scientists on Earth are trying to figure out what process formed it.

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