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. They aren't any better for science -- in fact, all the processing makes them less useful for science -- so it takes nothing away from the science to have artists like Daniel Macháček and Ted Stryk work over the data. This is how I think the science and amateur communities can really help each other out -- when scientists share data with hungry amateurs, the amateurs give back by producing better-looking images and videos that the scientists can use to make their Powerpoint presentations prettier!
Of course, what will really make Vesta look prettier is Dawn getting closer to it. And that's happening with every passing moment. Anyway, as a reminder, here's the raw material for the following products, the animation released by the Dawn team yesterday:
Dawn approaches Vesta (movie as of June 20, 2011) Video: NASA / JPL / UCLA / MPS / DLR / PSI
Here is Marco Di Lorezo's take on the Vesta animation:
Here is Ted Stryk's attempt to use the final four frames to make a more detailed image:
And here is Daniel Machacek's tweened and smoothed version of the animation.
Vesta from Dawn on June 17 and 20, 2011 This animation of the asteroid Vesta is composed of images acquired on June 17 and 20, 2011 by the Dawn spacecraft.Video: NASA / JPL-Caltech / UCLA / MPS / DLR / PSI / Daniel Macháček
They're honing their skills on the distant, less detailed images; I'm excited about what awaits us as we get closer!