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Emily LakdawallaJanuary 11, 2010

Results from the Rosetta Encounter with Asteroid 2867 Steins

Last week in Science magazine appeared the first peer-reviewed article on the results of Rosetta's September 2008 encounter with the smallish main-belt asteroid Steins. This morning I got a chance to sit down and read the article, and I wrote up a summary; basically, the article is a description of what asteroid Steins looks like and what it's likely made of. The single item in the article that'll be cited the most is the basic fact of Steins' dimensions, which are: 6.67 by 5.81 by 4.47 kilometers, equivalent in volume to a sphere with a radius of 2.65 kilometers.

Other notable items:

Read more here.

OSIRIS WAC view of Steins flyby

ESA / Rosetta / MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS / UPD / LAM / IAA / SSO / INTA / UPM / DASP / IDA

OSIRIS WAC view of Steins flyby
The wide-angle camera on Rosetta snapped photos of Steins throughout its 800-kilometer flyby on September 6, 2008. The animation begins three minutes before closest approach, from a distance of about 2,000 kilometers, and ends four minutes after closest approach. At the start of the animation, the Sun illuminated the asteroid from directly behind the spacecraft, so no shadows are visible on its surface, which shines brilliantly. As the flyby continued, the spacecraft viewed it from increasingly higher phase angles, making the asteroid appear darker and bringing more surface features into view through topographic shading.

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Read more: Rosetta and Philae, asteroid 2867 Steins, asteroids

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Emily Lakdawalla

Senior Editor and Planetary Evangelist for The Planetary Society
Read more articles by Emily Lakdawalla

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