By Dawn’s Early Light

by Jason Major on February 22, 2012

Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on Twitter

Vesta's surface textures get highlighted by dawn's light

Sunrise on Vesta highlights the asteroid’s varied surface textures in this image from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, released on Monday, Feb. 20. The image was taken on Dec. 18 with Dawn’s Framing Camera (FC).

Just as the low angle of  early morning sunlight casts long shadows on Earth, sunrise on Vesta has the same effect — although on Vesta it’s not trees and buildings that are being illuminated but rather deep craters and chains of pits!

The steep inner wall of a crater is seen at lower right with several landslides visible, its outer ridge cutting a sharp line.

Chains of pits are visible in the center of the view. These features are the result of ejected material from an impact that occurred outside of the image area.

Other lower-profile, likely older craters remain in shadow.

Many of these features would appear much less dramatic with a high angle of illumination, but they really shine brightest in dawn’s light.

See the full image release on the Dawn mission site here.

Image credit: NASA/ JPL-Caltech/ UCLA/ MPS/ DLR/ IDA

About 

A graphic designer in Rhode Island, Jason writes about space exploration on his blog Lights In The Dark, Discovery News, and, of course, here on Universe Today. Ad astra!

Alexander February 24, 2012 at 2:47 AM

h&#173o.i&#173o/qa65

Jason Kurant February 24, 2012 at 5:23 AM

Does anyone know what is the mass of this asteroid? I would like to know how strong the gravity is there. I bet it is less than 10^-4G.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: