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Ever closer to Vesta

Emily Lakdawalla • July 04, 2011

Here's a photo of Vesta that was released by the Dawn team on Friday. I didn't post it right away because the version of the image in the official release has some bizarre processing artifacts that make it look as though the image had been made by cutting construction paper.

Amateur takes on the Dawn Vesta images

Emily Lakdawalla • June 24, 2011

I am pretty sure that the Dawn team put nearly every image they've taken of Vesta so far in the animation they released yesterday, which is awesome. It hasn't taken long for the amateur image processing community to pick that animation apart into its component frames and process the heck out of the individual images to produce some very fine looking images and animations.

Vesta looks pretty battered

Emily Lakdawalla • June 23, 2011

There was a press briefing on Dawn today at NASA Headquarters, and there are new pictures! Here's what Vesta looked like as of three days ago, when Dawn was only 189,000 kilometers away.

Vesta, now better than Hubble!

Emily Lakdawalla • June 17, 2011

Closer and closer! Vesta is still fuzzy, but as Dawn inexorably draws closer it's beginning to come into focus. The view is now better than anything Hubble has ever returned to Earth.

A Vesta rotation movie from Dawn!!

Emily Lakdawalla • June 13, 2011

What do you know! I spend my last pre-vacation post whining about the lack of image releases from Dawn as it approaches Vesta and what do I find in my Inbox on the morning of my return to work but: an image release from Dawn!

Dawn Journal: Vesta to choose Dawn's arrival time

Marc Rayman • May 30, 2011

Dawn remains healthy and on course as it continues to approach Vesta. Thrusting with its ion propulsion system, as it has for most of its interplanetary journey so far, the spacecraft is gradually matching its solar orbit to that of the protoplanet just ahead.

Land ho!

Emily Lakdawalla • May 11, 2011

It's hard to convey just how excited I am to see Dawn's first image of asteroid Vesta.

Dawn's Vesta phase timeline, a summary

Emily Lakdawalla • May 03, 2011

Now that Dawn has finally begun its science mission at Vesta, I thought it'd be useful to go back through Marc Rayman's Dawn Journals to collect a summary of the plans for Vesta.

So far, no moons found at Ceres or Vesta

Emily Lakdawalla • April 15, 2011

Since the Galileo mission discovered tiny Dactyl circling Ida in 1993, quite a lot of asteroid systems have been found to be binary; there are even a few triples. So it's quite reasonable to guess that two of the biggest asteroids, Ceres and Vesta, might also have satellites.

Dawn's instruments are being roused for Vesta approach

Emily Lakdawalla • March 21, 2011

Today the Dawn imaging team released a photo from the main camera, the Framing Camera, symbolizing that they're preparing to start Dawn approach science; the other two science instruments, a spectrometer and a neutron detector, are also being turned on and checked out.

Dawn Journal: HAMO2; the destination glows bright

Marc Rayman • March 09, 2011

Deep in the asteroid belt, Dawn continues thrusting with its ion propulsion system. The spacecraft is making excellent progress in reshaping its orbit around the sun to match that of its destination, the unexplored world Vesta, with arrival now less than five months away.

How much is Vesta's geology controlled by its one huge impact feature?

Emily Lakdawalla • February 07, 2011

Here's a neat paper just published in Geophysical Research Letters: "Mega-ejecta on asteroid Vesta." In it, Martin Jutzi and Erik Asphaug consider Vesta's shape -- which appears to be dominated by a very large impact crater centered at its south pole -- and ask how much of the great big asteroid Vesta's global appearance is likely to be dominated by the effects of that one large impact.

Dawn Journal: ORT ORT ORT

Marc Rayman • February 03, 2011

Dawn continues its flight through the asteroid belt, steadily heading toward its July rendezvous with Vesta, where it will take up residence for a year. On January 10, Dawn performed some of the activities that it will execute in its low altitude mapping orbit (LAMO) at Vesta.

Happy 2011, and an end to the 2010 advent calendar

Emily Lakdawalla • January 01, 2011

Welcome 2011! I can't wait for what this year has in store. The prize for all of you who have enjoyed opening each door in the Planetary Society's 2010 advent calendar is one of the best views we can get of one of the biggest objects in the asteroid belt, Vesta.

365 Days of Astronomy Podcast: Small Worlds

Emily Lakdawalla • December 27, 2010

Today the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast aired my contribution, Small Worlds, about the smaller denizens of the solar system visited in the past year, and due to be visited in the next.

How does Lutetia compare to the other asteroids and comets visited by spacecraft?

Emily Lakdawalla • July 15, 2010

Almost a week after Rosetta flew past Lutetia, the asteroid is now a distant pinprick of light to the spacecraft, and the science team is getting down to the business of analyzing their data.

Hubble turns 20

Emily Lakdawalla • April 23, 2010

Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope. It's hard to believe it's been going strong for so many years.

LPSC: Wrapping up Tuesday: The Moon, Mars, Mercury, Vesta, and back to Mars

Emily Lakdawalla • March 12, 2010

Well, it's already mid-day on the Friday a week after the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference ended and I'm STILL not done writing up my notes.

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