APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
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APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Post by APOD Robot » Tue Jul 19, 2011 4:06 am

Image Vesta Vista

Explanation: What does the surface of asteroid Vesta look like? The brightest asteroid in the Solar System and the object which takes up about 10 percent of the entire mass of the main asteroid belt had never been seen up close before. Over the past few weeks, however, the robotic Dawn spacecraft became the first spacecraft ever to approach Vesta. A few days ago, just after attaining orbit, Dawn took the above image. Early images show Vesta to be an old and battered world, covered with craters, bulges, grooves, and cliffs. Studying Vesta may give clues to the formative years of our early Solar System, as the unusual world may be one of the largest remaining protoplanets. After a year of studying Vesta, Dawn is scheduled to leave orbit and, in 2015, approach the only asteroid-belt object that is larger: Ceres.

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Re: APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Post by neufer » Tue Jul 19, 2011 4:16 am


July 18, 2011 - PASADENA, Calif. -- This composite image shows the comparative sizes of eight asteroids. Up until now, Lutetia, with a diameter of 81 miles (130 kilometers), was the largest asteroid visited by a spacecraft, which occurred during a flyby. Vesta, which is also considered a protoplanet because it's a large body that almost became a planet, dwarfs all other small bodies in this image, with its diameter sizing up at approximately 330 miles (530 kilometers).

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap100726.html
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Re: APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Post by islader2 » Tue Jul 19, 2011 4:40 am

For my money Vesta is a dwarf planet==it has hydrostatic equilibrium. The designation "dwarf planet" is ambiguous enough for Vesta's inclusion in that class. Besides, Vesta is closer to Earth {and more Grecoroman} to be a dwarf planet. Let us make up for poor redenominated Pluto!!!

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Re: APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Post by neufer » Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:41 am

islader2 wrote:
For my money Vesta is a dwarf planet==it has hydrostatic equilibrium. The designation "dwarf planet" is ambiguous enough for Vesta's inclusion in that class. Besides, Vesta is closer to Earth {and more Grecoroman} to be a dwarf planet. Let us make up for poor redenominated Pluto!!!
What will make up for Pluto will be to make Pluto-Charon a double dwarf.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwarf_planet wrote:
<<After [dwarf planet] Ceres [diameter ~ 975 km], the next most massive body in the asteroid belt, Vesta [diameter ~ 530 km], might also be classified as a dwarf planet, as its shape appears to deviate from hydrostatic equilibrium only because of a large impact that occurred after it solidified; the definition of dwarf planet does not specifically address this issue. The Dawn probe scheduled to enter orbit around Vesta in 2011 may help clarify matters.

The status of Charon [diameter ~ 1200 km] (currently regarded as a satellite of Pluto) remains uncertain, as there is currently no clear definition of what distinguishes a satellite system from a binary (double planet) system. The original draft resolution presented to the IAU stated that Charon could be considered a planet because:

Charon independently would satisfy the size and shape criteria for a dwarf planet status (in the terms of the final resolution); Charon revolves with Pluto around a common center of mass located between the two bodies (rather than within one of the bodies) because Charon's mass is not insignificant relative to that of Pluto.

This definition was not preserved in the IAU's final resolution and it is unknown if it will be included in future debates.>>
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Re: APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Post by Mike Hart » Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:32 pm

It looks very similar to Uranus's moon Miranda.

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Re: APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Post by orin stepanek » Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:21 pm

islader2 wrote:For my money Vesta is a dwarf planet==it has hydrostatic equilibrium. The designation "dwarf planet" is ambiguous enough for Vesta's inclusion in that class. Besides, Vesta is closer to Earth {and more Grecoroman} to be a dwarf planet. Let us make up for poor redenominated Pluto!!!
Vesta is still in the running to become labeled a dwarf planet! 8-)

Vesta's shape is relatively close to a gravitationally relaxed oblate spheroid,[30] but the large concavity and protrusion at the pole (see 'Surface features' below) combined with a mass less than 5×1020 kg precluded Vesta from automatically being considered a dwarf planet under International Astronomical Union (IAU) Resolution XXVI 5.[31] Vesta may be listed as a dwarf planet in the future, if it is convincingly determined that its shape, other than the large impact basin at the southern pole, is due to hydrostatic equilibrium, as currently believed.[11]
Orin

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Re: APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Post by zbvhs » Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:29 pm

Has anyone explained why we have four rocky inner planets, an asteroid belt, and four outer gas giants? Seems like a curious way to form a solar system. Why wouldn't a planet exist where the asteroids are now?
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Re: APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:44 pm

zbvhs wrote:Has anyone explained why we have four rocky inner planets, an asteroid belt, and four outer gas giants? Seems like a curious way to form a solar system. Why wouldn't a planet exist where the asteroids are now?
The asteroids themselves don't have enough combined mass to produce anything larger than a large asteroid. The reason that no planet formed there is because gravitational resonance with Jupiter prevented it.

The structure of the Solar System- inner terrestrial and outer gas planets, with even more distant ice bodies- is probably the result of natural gradients in material and temperature found in an accretion disc, but the details are still only partly understood, and our increasingly good observations of extrasolar planetary systems and protostars has just shown how complex planetary formation actually is.
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Re: APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Post by neufer » Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:45 pm

Mike Hart wrote: [Vesta] looks very similar to Uranus's moon Miranda.
http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00003103/ wrote: Yet another new image of Vesta
The Planetary Society Blog
By Emily Lakdawalla | Jul. 18, 2011

<<The interior of [Vesta's] south polar basin sure looks weird. All around the central peak are chevron-shaped ridgy features that bring to mind Miranda, -- which, by the way, is very similar in size to Vesta. Such an unusual terrain, located preferentially within the interior of this gigantic crater, must have something to do with how the crater formed, at least that's the way I see it. I'm looking forward to seeing what this terrain looks like at higher resolution as Dawn spirals downward.

Whereas that "nose" reminds me of a much smaller, lumpier moon, Epimetheus: :arrow:

Cassini flew within 40,000 kilometers of Saturn's moon Epimetheus to capture the images necessary to compose this natural-color view on December 3, 2007. Epimetheus is 135 by 108 by 105 kilometers in diameter and shares an orbit with the slightly larger Janus.

I find the smaller craters on Vesta to be strikingly bowl-shaped. Or maybe I find the bowl shapes of the craters so noticeable because there's so few of them. With relatively few craters, Vesta's surface is, as solar system surfaces go, young. Compare Vesta to another similarly sized body, Mimas, whose surface has many more craters, and you'll see what I mean. >>
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Re: APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Post by neufer » Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:08 pm


Vesta is still closing on the dark side of Vesta while picking up speed from a minimum of about 100 mph.

Presumeably it will swing around the front and get some nice closeups of the northern hemisphere.
Art Neuendorffer

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Re: APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Post by ExplorerAtHeart » Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:28 pm

Why do the vesta images seem so blurry? Will we get clearer ones as time passes?

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Re: APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Post by drollere » Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:38 pm

islader2 wrote:For my money Vesta is a dwarf planet==it has hydrostatic equilibrium. The designation "dwarf planet" is ambiguous enough for Vesta's inclusion in that class. Besides, Vesta is closer to Earth {and more Grecoroman} to be a dwarf planet. Let us make up for poor redenominated Pluto!!!
in my view a rock without an atmosphere is not a planet. i don't care what shape it's in. an atmosphere without a rock can be a planet, such as jupiter. but anything much smaller than mars is just a rock. get out of its way and let it go by; nothing to see there.

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Re: APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:54 pm

drollere wrote:in my view a rock without an atmosphere is not a planet. i don't care what shape it's in. an atmosphere without a rock can be a planet, such as jupiter. but anything much smaller than mars is just a rock. get out of its way and let it go by; nothing to see there.
Every body with a reasonably stable orbit around the Sun, from meter-sized rocks to gas giants, is a planet. Beyond that, it's just a matter of subclassification.
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Re: APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Post by Ann » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:51 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
drollere wrote:in my view a rock without an atmosphere is not a planet. i don't care what shape it's in. an atmosphere without a rock can be a planet, such as jupiter. but anything much smaller than mars is just a rock. get out of its way and let it go by; nothing to see there.
Every body with a reasonably stable orbit around the Sun, from meter-sized rocks to gas giants, is a planet. Beyond that, it's just a matter of subclassification.
Everybody with a reasonably stable orbit around the Sun, from meter-sized rocks to gas giants, is a planet.

Image

No, that's another planet!
Beyond that, it's just a matter of subclassification.
Beyond??? :shock:

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Re: APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Post by orin stepanek » Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:54 pm

I never hear the usage of the word planetoid much anymore! I think that would be a good word to describe Vesta; more than an asteroid and not quite a dwarf planet. 8-) :lol:
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Re: APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Post by pwilson174 » Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:11 pm

What does the surface of asteroid Vesta look like?

Well, you are all very sincere but I thought it looked an awful lot like that round headed kid, Charlie Brown. :D

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Re: APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Post by neufer » Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:30 pm

pwilson174 wrote:
What does the surface of asteroid Vesta look like?

Well, you are all very sincere but I thought it looked an awful lot like that round headed kid, Charlie Brown. :D
Good Grief :facepalm:
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Re: APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Post by Ann » Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:44 pm

neufer wrote:
pwilson174 wrote:
What does the surface of asteroid Vesta look like?

Well, you are all very sincere but I thought it looked an awful lot like that round headed kid, Charlie Brown. :D
Good Grief :facepalm:
Well, that nose-y Epimetheus with his one large innocent-looking eye reminded me of another comic book character, although I can't really say which one. Not exactly Linus van Pelt, but close.

Image

Though from the looks of Epimetheus, Linus ought to have been in black and white!

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Re: APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Post by Beyond » Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:40 pm

Ann wrote:Beyond??? :shock:
You rang?
To find the Truth, you must go Beyond.

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Re: APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Post by neufer » Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:56 pm

Ann wrote:
neufer wrote:
pwilson174 wrote:
What does the surface of asteroid Vesta look like?

Well, you are all very sincere but I thought it looked an awful lot like that round headed kid, Charlie Brown. :D
Good Grief :facepalm:
Well, that nose-y Epimetheus with his one large innocent-looking eye reminded me of another comic book character, although I can't really say which one. Not exactly Linus van Pelt, but close.
I was thinking more along the lines of the Great Pumpkin :arrow:
(as seen from above about a month after Halloween).
Art Neuendorffer

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Re: APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Post by DDSD » Tue Jul 19, 2011 11:31 pm

The asteroid belt IS the remains of what once was a rocky planet-that was probably busted up by an impact with an asteroid long long ago00my theory also extends to Saturn's rings. I am betting that there were once one or more small planets with atmospheres that collided while in Saturn orbit and over the millenniums spread out to the ring system. perhaps the gravimetrics of Saturn keeps it all to a thin band.

The photo show cost how much money and time to get-and it is blurry and not sharp--amazing.

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Re: APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Post by nstahl » Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:46 am

We'll get a lot of pics and data for our money. Here's another one, now, courtesy of the Planetary Society.

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Re: APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:54 am

DDSD wrote:The asteroid belt IS the remains of what once was a rocky planet-that was probably busted up by an impact with an asteroid long long ago.
There is nothing to support this idea, and a good deal that argues against it.
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Re: APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Post by DDSD » Wed Jul 20, 2011 5:22 am

Chris Peterson wrote:
DDSD wrote:The asteroid belt IS the remains of what once was a rocky planet-that was probably busted up by an impact with an asteroid long long ago.
There is nothing to support this idea, and a good deal that argues against it.
I also believe the speed of light is NOT a universal constant--proof would be finding a black hole-and also We must remember we only see light as what it is here in our little area of the universe--

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Re: APOD: Vesta Vista (2011 Jul 19)

Post by Ann » Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:42 am

Beyond wrote:
Ann wrote:Beyond??? :shock:
You rang?
Image

Beyond? Is that you?

Image

Well... have a nice day!

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