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News Release Archive:

News Release 791 of 948

April 19, 1995 02:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-1995-20

Asteroid or Mini-Planet? Hubble Maps the Ancient Surface of Vesta

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Image: Hubble Follows the Rotation of the Asteroid Vesta

Hubble Follows the Rotation of the Asteroid VestaSTScI-PRC1995-20a

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ABOUT THIS IMAGE:

This is a NASA Hubble Space Telescope series of 24 images showing the full 5.34-hour rotation of the 325-mile diameter (525 kilometer) asteroid Vesta.

Hubble resolves features as small as 50 miles across, allowing astronomers to map Vesta's geologically diverse terrain. The surface is a complex record of Vesta's four billion-year history. Features include ancient lava flows, and a gigantic impact basin that is so deep, it exposes the asteroid's subsurface, or mantle.

This sequence was taken with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 between November 28 and December 1, 1994, when Vesta was at a distance of 156 million miles from Earth.

When combined with ground-based data, astronomers will be able to make the first geochemical map of Vesta's surface.

Object Name: Vesta

Image Type: Astronomical/Illustration

Credit: B. Zellner (Georgia Southern University) and NASA

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