APOD: The South Pole of Asteroid Vesta (2011 Sep 19)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
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APOD: The South Pole of Asteroid Vesta (2011 Sep 19)

Post by APOD Robot » Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:06 am

Image The South Pole of Asteroid Vesta

Explanation: What created the circular structure around the south pole of asteroid Vesta? Pictured above, the bottom of the second largest object in the asteroid belt was recently imaged for the first time by the robotic Dawn satellite that arrived last month. A close inspection of the 260-meter resolution image shows not only hills and craters and cliffs and more craters, but ragged circular features that cover most of the lower right of the 500-kilometer sized object. Early speculation posits that the structure might have been created by a collision and coalescence with a smaller asteroid. Alternatively, the features might have originated in an internal process soon after the asteroid formed. New clues might come in the next few months as Dawn spirals down toward the rocky world and obtains images of increasingly high resolution.

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Re: APOD: The South Pole of Asteroid Vesta (2011 Sep 19)

Post by saturn2 » Mon Sep 19, 2011 5:22 am

I think the structure of the South Polo of Asteroid Vesta, it´s not the product of a collision with smaller asteroid.
I think that the incandescent material of Vesta,cool down sharply, very sharply.

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Re: APOD: The South Pole of Asteroid Vesta (2011 Sep 19)

Post by nstahl » Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:13 am

Beware of kooky ideas expressed with certainty, in astronomy as well as politics.

Another great APOD. And what's with that Richat Structure, anyway?

Tszabeau

Re: APOD: The South Pole of Asteroid Vesta (2011 Sep 19)

Post by Tszabeau » Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:52 am

The really odd thing about the circular structures, to my eye, is that they are spiraled around the pole. Sort of like a sea shell.

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Re: APOD: The South Pole of Asteroid Vesta (2011 Sep 19)

Post by orin stepanek » Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:11 pm

Some of the craters remind me of something that was bubbling hot and suddenly cooled down. I would think there should have been some frozen dome structures if that were the case though. :?
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Re: APOD: The South Pole of Asteroid Vesta (2011 Sep 19)

Post by alanrt1 » Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:47 pm

The craters look more like excavations than craters. There is no debris field around the craters.

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Re: APOD: The South Pole of Asteroid Vesta (2011 Sep 19)

Post by Rakeera » Mon Sep 19, 2011 2:48 pm

My humble opinion is that maybe this asteroid is rotating on it's pole and the rings are tracks formed from falling detritis from impacts from other asteroids.
This is also indicated by the fact that most of the impact craters seem to be made with the clockwise motion. (as viewed from the south pole)

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Re: APOD: The South Pole of Asteroid Vesta (2011 Sep 19)

Post by gezz » Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:38 pm

I think this is the result of high spin on vesta in the past

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Re: APOD: The South Pole of Asteroid Vesta (2011 Sep 19)

Post by biddie67 » Mon Sep 19, 2011 6:00 pm

Those craters seem so pristine - they look like gas bubble pockets that formed when Vesta was still maleable and before it cooled down to its present hardness. Some of the craters look like they even have some kind of vent shafts in them. The ripples further add to the impression of a certain amount of shrinkage in its diameter as it congealed and cooled.

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Re: APOD: The South Pole of Asteroid Vesta (2011 Sep 19)

Post by Boomer12k » Mon Sep 19, 2011 6:53 pm

Interesting. Looks like a MAULED bowling ball.

jasc99

Re: APOD: The South Pole of Asteroid Vesta (2011 Sep 19)

Post by jasc99 » Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:49 pm

Anyone notice the triangular feature towards top right at approx one oclock position ?

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Re: APOD: The South Pole of Asteroid Vesta (2011 Sep 19)

Post by orin stepanek » Mon Sep 19, 2011 8:13 pm

orin stepanek wrote:Some of the craters remind me of something that was bubbling hot and suddenly cooled down. I would think there should have been some frozen dome structures if that were the case though. :?
Just maybe when the asteroid was still molten it was impacted with meteors. :? Hopefully; more can be determined when higher resolution photos are taken. :)
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Re: APOD: The South Pole of Asteroid Vesta (2011 Sep 19)

Post by Wolf Kotenberg » Mon Sep 19, 2011 8:30 pm

This is one of those unknowns that will never be known. And if we do find the unknown, it will be then known, and what do we do with it then ?

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Re: APOD: The South Pole of Asteroid Vesta (2011 Sep 19)

Post by ZenGrouch » Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:51 pm

How are the north and south poles determined on asteroids?

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Re: APOD: The South Pole of Asteroid Vesta (2011 Sep 19)

Post by neufer » Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:07 am

ZenGrouch wrote:
How are the north and south poles determined on asteroids?
Rotation is counter clockwise looking down at the north pole
(& clockwise looking down at the south pole).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poles_of_astronomical_bodies wrote:
<<The International Astronomical Union (IAU) defines the geographic north pole of a planet or any of its satellites in the solar system as the planetary pole that is in the same celestial hemisphere relative to the invariable plane of the solar system as Earth's North pole. This definition means that an object's direction of rotation may be negative (retrograde rotation) — in other words, it rotates clockwise when viewed from above its north pole, rather than the "normal" counterclockwise direction exhibited by Earth's north pole. Venus rotates in the opposite direction to the other planets, and Uranus has been knocked on its side and rotates almost perpendicular to the rest of the solar system. The ecliptic remains within 3° of the invariable plane over five million years, but is now inclined about 23.44° to Earth's celestial equator used for the coordinates of poles. This large inclination means that the declination of a pole relative to Earth's celestial equator could be negative even though a planet's north pole (such as Uranus) is north of the invariable plane.

In 2009 the responsible IAU Working Group decided to define the poles of dwarf planets, minor planets, their satellites, and comets according to the right-hand rule. To avoid confusion with the "north" and "south" definitions relative to the invariable plane, "positive" is the pole toward which the thumb points when the fingers are curled in its direction of rotation ("negative" for the opposite pole). This change was needed because the poles of some asteroids and comets precess rapidly enough for their north and south poles to swap within a few decades using the invariable plane definition.

The projection of a planet's geographic north pole onto the celestial sphere gives its north celestial pole. The coordinates are given relatve to Earth's celestial equator and the vernal equinox as they existed at J2000 (2000 January 1 12:00:00 TT) which is a plane fixed in inertial space now called the International Celestial Reference Frame (ICRF). Many poles precess or otherwise move relative to the ICRF, so their coordinates will change. Some bodies in the solar system, including Saturn's moon Hyperion and the asteroid 4179 Toutatis, lack a stable geographic north pole. They rotate chaotically because of their irregular shape and gravitational influences from nearby planets and moons, and as a result the instantaneous pole wanders over their surface, and may momentarily vanish altogether (when the object comes to a standstill with respect to the distant stars).>>
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Re: APOD: The South Pole of Asteroid Vesta (2011 Sep 19)

Post by Ann » Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:10 am

Image


Is this weird south polar feature the same thing as the famous "nose" of Vesta?












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Last edited by Ann on Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: APOD: The South Pole of Asteroid Vesta (2011 Sep 19)

Post by neufer » Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:31 am

Ann wrote:
Is this weird south polar feature the same thing as the famous "nose" of Vesta?
More like the Grand Teton of Vesta.
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Re: APOD: The South Pole of Asteroid Vesta (2011 Sep 19)

Post by florid_snow » Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:16 am

I like the idea of an impact then slowly raining down debris as Vesta spins underneath... but if that's the south pole by right hand rule, I think the Coriolis force would provide a curl of the spiral in the other direction? What if Vesta was slowly rammed by a similarly large body with a different rotation rate, and it sort of "drilled" that spiral feature in as it spun during the slow collision?

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Re: APOD: The South Pole of Asteroid Vesta (2011 Sep 19)

Post by o.b.zervar » Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:49 pm

when an iron based object is struck hard enough to liquefy the crust the electro-magnetic field,combined with the air flow vectors and subsequent loss of heat,willl determine the form of the coagulating sructure. this shot shows the result of a polar region impact.

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Re: APOD: The South Pole of Asteroid Vesta (2011 Sep 19)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:34 pm

o.b.zervar wrote:when an iron based object is struck hard enough to liquefy the crust the electro-magnetic field,combined with the air flow vectors and subsequent loss of heat,willl determine the form of the coagulating sructure. this shot shows the result of a polar region impact.
The magnetic field will have no effect. First of all, molten iron isn't magnetic. Second, any magnetism of Vesta is small; gravity is far more significant in determining structure. The only impact magnetism will have is in aligning domains within the melt zone as it cools.
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Rheasilvia

Post by neufer » Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:50 am

neufer wrote:
Ann wrote:
Is this weird south polar feature the same thing as the famous "nose" of Vesta?
More like the Grand Teton of [Rheasilvia].
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhea_Silvia wrote:
Image
Rhea Silvia, torso from the amphitheatre at Cartagena in Spain.
<<Rhea Silvia (also written as Rea Silvia), and also known as Ilia, was the mythical mother of the twins Romulus and Remus, who founded the city of Rome. Her story is told in the first book of Ab Urbe Condita of Livy. According to Livy she was the daughter of Numitor, king of Alba Longa, and descended from Aeneas. Numitor's younger brother Amulius seized the throne and killed Numitor's son, then forced Rhea Silvia to become a Vestal Virgin, a priestess of the goddess Vesta. As Vestal Virgins were sworn to celibacy for a period of thirty years, this would ensure the line of Numitor had no heirs.

However, Rhea Silvia conceived and gave birth to the twins Romulus and Remus, claiming that the god Mars had discovered her in the forest and seduced her.

When Amulius learned of the birth he imprisoned Rhea Silvia and ordered a servant to kill the twins. But the servant showed mercy and set them adrift on the river Tiber, which, overflowing, left the infants in a pool by the bank. There a she-wolf (Lupa), who had just lost her own cubs suckled them. Subsequently Faustulus rescued the boys. Romulus and Remus went on to found Rome, overthrow Amulius, and reinstate Numitor as King of Alba Longa.

In a version presented by Ovid, it is the river Anio who takes pity on her and invites her to rule in his realm. The name Rhea Silvia suggests a minor deity, a demi-goddess of forests. Silva means woods or forest, and Rea may be related to res and regnum; Rea may also be related to Greek rheô, "flow," and thus relate to her association with the spirit of the river Tiber. Carsten Niebuhr proposed that the name Rhea Silvia came from Rea, meaning guilty, and Silvia meaning of the forest and so assumed that Rhea Silvia was a generic name for the guilty woman of the forest, i.e. the woman who had been seduced there.>>
http://www.universetoday.com/89093/rhea-silvia-super-mysterious-south-pole-basin-at-vesta-is-named-after-romulus-and-remus-roman-mother/#more-89093 wrote:
Rheasilvia – Super Mysterious South Pole Basin at Vesta is Named after Romulus and Remus Roman Mother
by Ken Kremer on September 21, 2011 <<‘Rheasilvia’ – that’s the brand new name given to the humongous and ever more mysterious South Pole basin feature being scrutinized in detail by Dawn, according to the missions top scientists in a Universe Today exclusive. What is Rheasilvia? An impact basin? A crater remnant? Tectonic action? A leftover from internal processes? Or something completely different? That’s the hotly debated central question consuming loads of attention and sparking significant speculation amongst Dawn’s happily puzzled international science team. There is nothing closely analogous to Vesta and Rhea Silvia – and thats a planetary scientists dream come true.

“Rheasilvia – One thing that we all agree on is that the large crater should be named ‘Rheasilvia’ after the mother of Romulus and Remus, the mythical mother of the Vestals,” said Prof. Chris Russell, Dawn's lead scientist, in an exclusive interview with Universe Today.

Prior to Dawn’s orbital insertion in July 2011, the best views of Vesta were captured by the Hubble Space Telescope and clearly showed it wasn’t round. Scientists interpreted the data as showing that Vesta’s southern hemisphere lacked a South Pole! And, that it had been blasted away eons ago by a gargantuan cosmic collision that excavated huge amounts of material that nearly utterly destroyed the asteroid. “We are trying to understand the high scarps that we see and the scarps that should be there and aren’t,” Russell explained. “We are trying to understand the landslides we think we see and why the land slid. We see grooves in the floor of the basin and want to interpret them. “And the hill in the center of the crater remains as mysterious today as when we first arrived.”

Another top Dawn scientist described Rheasilvia in this way: “I would say that the floor of the impact feature contains chaotic terrain with multiple sets of intersecting grooves, sometimes fairly straight and often curvy, said Carol Raymond to Universe Today. Raymond is Dawn’s Deputy Principal Investigator from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

“The crater rim is not well-expressed”, Raymond told me. “We see strong color variations across Vesta, and the south pole impact basin appears to have a distinct spectral signature. The analysis is still ongoing,” Russell said. “The south is distinctly different than the north. The north has a varied spectrum and the south has a distinct spectral feature but it has little variation.” Time will tell as additional high resolution measurements are collected from the forthcoming science campaign at lower orbits.

Russell further informed that the team is rushing to pull all the currently available data together in time for a science conference and public briefing in mid-October. “We have set ourselves a target to gather everything we know about the south pole impact feature and expect to have a press release from what ever we conclude at the GSA (Geological Society of America) meeting on October 12. “We will tell the public what the options are. We do not have a good analog to Vesta anywhere else in the Solar System and we’ll be studying it very intently.”

Right now Dawn is using its ion propulsion system to spiral down four times closer to Vesta, as it descends from the initlal survey orbit (about 2700 km) to the new science orbit, elegantly named HAMO – or High Altitude Mapping Orbit (about 685 km.)>>
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Re: APOD: The South Pole of Asteroid Vesta (2011 Sep 19)

Post by alirahL » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:34 am

Very interesting.

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SOS (... --- ...)?

Post by neufer » Thu Sep 29, 2011 3:47 pm

http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/multimedia/imageoftheday/image.asp?date=20110927 wrote:

.




3-D Image of Grooves and Wrinkles in the South Polar Region
September 27, 2011

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this 3-D image of Vesta with its framing camera on Aug. 23 and 28, 2011. This image of the south polar region was taken through the camera's clear filter at a distance of 1,700 miles. The image has a resolution of about 260 meters per pixel.
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Re: APOD: The South Pole of Asteroid Vesta (2011 Sep 19)

Post by neufer » Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:01 pm

GULLIVER'S TRAVELS : PART II. A VOYAGE TO BROBDINGNAG.

When dinner was almost done, the nurse came in with a child of a year old in her arms, who immediately spied me, and began a squall that you might have heard from London-Bridge to Chelsea, after the usual oratory of infants, to get me for a plaything. The mother, out of pure indulgence, took me up, and put me towards the child, who presently seized me by the middle, and got my head into his mouth, where I roared so loud that the urchin was frighted, and let me drop, and I should infallibly have broke my neck, if the mother had not held her apron under me. The nurse, to quiet her babe, made use of a rattle which was a kind of hollow vessel filled with great stones, and fastened by a cable to the child's waist: but all in vain; so that she was forced to apply the last remedy by giving it suck. I must confess no object ever disgusted me so much as the sight of her monstrous breast, which I cannot tell what to compare with, so as to give the curious reader an idea of its bulk, shape, and colour. It stood prominent six feet, and could not be less than sixteen in circumference. The nipple was about half the bigness of my head, and the hue both of that and the dug, so varied with spots, pimples, and freckles, that nothing could appear more nauseous: for I had a near sight of her, she sitting down, the more conveniently to give suck, and I standing on the table. This made me reflect upon the fair skins of our English ladies, who appear so beautiful to us, only because they are of our own size, and their defects not to be seen but through a magnifying glass; where we find by experiment that the smoothest and whitest skins look rough, and coarse, and ill-coloured.
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