back to article First snap of giant asteroid Vesta from orbiting probe

NASA's Dawn asteroid hunter has returned the first photo of Vesta since achieving orbit around the giant object at the end of last week. The snap (big version here) was grabbed at a distance of 9,900 miles (16,000 kilometres), and shows Vesta's impressive 530 kilometre (330 mile) diameter bulk beginning to come into focus. …

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Silver badge

Neat shot

My scope only shows a speck, moving slowly between the stars

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Coat

So did they find anything...

marooned off Vesta?

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Coat

Just an empty water tank

Just an empty water tank.

my coat: i 'as a mauve one.

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Unhappy

But...

Where are the Clangers?

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Alien

@Clangers

Don't give up hope. According to the Dawn mission website, each pixel in that image corresponds to 0.88 miles. Dustbin lids are quite a bit smaller than that.

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Alien

@Clangers 2

Also they were on a "small planet somewhere in space" IIRC. Clearly that was before Pluto was so shockingly demoted, so it (and Cares, if it's big enough) may be in with a chance, I don't think this one ever counted as a planet.

As Mr Bell above said "don't give up hope"

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Alien

The Clangers might find them first

Maybe Small Clanger will come out in the music boat and reel in the Dawn probe with that fishing line and magnet.

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Anonymous Coward

That's

no moon!

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It certainly isn't...

...it's an asteroid.

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Paris Hilton

Fuzzy

Dissapointing, seems rather fuzzy.

I wonder what the cammera the sensor size and focal length are (unless it's some sort of scanned sensor). By my calculation 16000km away 530km diameter should cover approx 1.9 deg which would roughly fill a 36mm frame with a 1000mm lens.

Paris, another heavenly body! (so I'm told)

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Boffin

@Fuzzy

The resolution of the camera is actually not too brilliant (1024 x 1024). But I imagine those sneaky boffins know what they are up to. Things should get quite a lot sharper when the spacecraft gets much nearer to Vesta. And since it will be in orbit for quite a while, who knows, they may be able to artificially increase the resolution from multiple passes.

http://www6.cet.edu/dawn/multimedia/docs/camera.pdf

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Boffin

Close-ups?

Isn't this close to the perfect snap? Surely, when the probe is at closest approach, it will send thousands of detailed pictures, each of 1 square km of surface, or something - doubtless invaluable to the scientists looking for evidence to support their pet theories of planetary evolution, but hardly the stuff that makes newspaper headlines.

Unless, of course, they manage to snap somebody snapping them.

Personally, I'm more interested in Phobos, with its interestingly low density which MIGHT just suggest that there are hollow spaces inside. It's time we investigated that.

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Coat

Mayan prediction

Is this the asteroid that will be responsible for destroying the Earth in 2012?

May have been all right if some probe or other hadn't knocked it out of it's usual orbit.

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Thumb Up

Lovely stuff

Vesta, then Ceres! Thank you people with money for sending us these pictures!

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Coat

Vista/Vesta

So...there's a large, bloated, boring, useless object floating around in the asteroid belt? That'll be me...I punted my copy of vista into space within 24hrs of using it.

Oh wait...VEsta, not VIsta? aaaah.

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