Hubble Reveals Huge Crater on the Surface of the Asteroid Vesta
|Target Name: ||Asteroid Vesta|
|Produced by: ||B. Zellner (Georgia Southern University), Peter Thomas (Cornell University) and NASA|
|Copyright: ||NASA Copyright Free Policy|
|Cross Reference: ||STScI-PRC97-27|
|Date Released: ||September 4, 1997|
A NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of the asteroid Vesta, taken in
May 1996 when the asteroid was 110 million miles from Earth. The
asymmetry of the asteroid and "nub" and the south pole is suggestive
that it suffered a large impact event. The image was digitally restored
to yield an effective scale of six miles per pixel (picture element).
A color-encoded elevation map of Vesta clearly shows the giant 285-
mile diameter impact basin and "bull's-eye" central peak. The map was
constructed from 78 Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 pictures. Surface
topography was estimated by noting irregularities along the limb and
at the terminator (day/night boundary) where shadows are enhanced by
the low Sun angle.
A 3-D computer model of the asteroid Vesta synthesized from Hubble
topographic data. The crater's 8-mile high central peak can clearly be
seen near the pole. The surface texture on the model is artificial, and
is not representative of the true brightness variations on the
asteroid. Elevation features have not been exaggerated.
Photo Credit: Ben Zellner (Georgia Southern University),
Peter Thomas (Cornell University), NASA