Monday, November 21, 2011

Vesta's Domitia Crater

These Dawn FC (framing camera) images show the Domitia crater in Vesta's northern hemisphere and the topography of the surrounding region, which includes the "Snowman" craters. Domitia crater is the roughly 50km diameter crater in the top of the image, slightly offset from the center of the image. It is a highly degraded crater and its rim is nearly totally obscured by smaller, younger impact craters. Domitia crater is both large and distinctive so its name is used to name the quadrangle in which it is located. The left image is an albedo image, which is taken directly through the clear filter of the FC. Such an image shows the albedo (e.g. brightness/darkness) of the surface. The right image uses the same albedo image as its base but then a color-coded height representation of the topography is overlain onto it. The topography is calculated from a set of images that were observed from different viewing directions, called stereo images. The various colors correspond to the height of the area that they color. For example, the white area in the bottom right of the image is the highest area and the dark blue top edge of the image is the lowest area. The bottom edge of Domitia crater is located on the boundary between the dark and light blue so it defines a sharp topography/height boundary.

This image is in Vesta's Domitia, Marcia and Numisia quadrangles and the center latitude and longitude of the image is 22.3°N, 198.7°E. NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on August 29th 2011. This image was taken through the camera's clear filter. The distance to the surface of Vesta is 2740 km and the image has a resolution of about 250 meters per pixel. This image was acquired during the Survey phase of the mission.

Photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

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