The Dawn spacecraft has begun orbiting and taking pictures of the large asteroid Ceres.

NASA is releasing the latest photos of some bright spots on the dwarf planet. Those spots are thought to be ice, but scientists are still unsure.

Dawn will get closer to the asteroid with another orbital change in a few weeks and the photos will have even more detail. It successfully completed its journey to Ceres in March. Ceres is one of the larger bodies in the asteroid belt, which is a collection of rocky debris between Mars and Jupiter. Ceres was first observed in 1801.

NASA has also released a video that combines Dawn photos of Ceres into a pretty cool animation. They added a starfield in the background and instrumental music for a great presentation.

The best version of the video is at the Jet Propulsion Lab's NASA site

The next big photographic event for one of our other robot spacecraft will be the flyby of Pluto by the New Horizons craft in July. Here's a recent set of images from that mission.