Pluto may be the most beloved dwarf planet (it's certainly the only one with a vocal faction calling for its planetary designation) but it’s not the only one in existence. Ceres is one of the largest of Pluto’s fellow dwarf planets and the largest object in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. It's also the subject of one of NASA's latest projects.

The NASA spacecraft Dawn is currently investigating Ceres, orbiting closer and closer to the dwarf planet’s surface. Based on those observations, NASA released this animated visualization of a Ceres flyby. It gets up close to the most prominent craters and mountains on the dwarf planet’s surface.

There are still some mysteries about Ceres. For instance, the bright spots on the dwarf planet’s surface could be volcanoes, or salt deposits, or something else entirely. You can cast your vote on the spots' origins before data from Dawn arrives over the next few months.

[h/t The Washington Post]

Banner image screenshot via YouTube