Friday, July 26, 2013

1307.6608 (Vishnu Reddy et al.)

Comparing Dawn, Hubble Space Telescope, and Ground-Based Interpretations of (4) Vesta    [PDF]

Vishnu Reddy, Jian-Yang Li, Lucille Le Corre, Jennifer E. C. Scully, Robert Gaskell, Christopher T. Russell, Ryan S. Park, Andreas Nathues, Carol Raymond, Michael J. Gaffey, Holger Sierks, Kris J. Becker, Lucy A. McFadden
Observations of asteroid 4 Vesta by NASA's Dawn spacecraft are interesting because its surface has the largest range of albedo, color and composition of any other asteroid visited by spacecraft to date. These hemispherical and rotational variations in surface brightness and composition have been attributed to impact processes since Vesta's formation. Prior to Dawn's arrival at Vesta, its surface properties were the focus of intense telescopic investigations for nearly a hundred years. Ground-based photometric and spectroscopic observations first revealed these variations followed later by those using Hubble Space Telescope. Here we compare interpretations of Vesta's rotation period, pole, albedo, topographic, color, and compositional properties from ground-based telescopes and HST with those from Dawn. Rotational spectral variations observed from ground-based studies are also consistent with those observed by Dawn. While the interpretation of some of these features was tenuous from past data, the interpretations were reasonable given the limitations set by spatial resolution and our knowledge of Vesta and HED meteorites at that time. Our analysis shows that ground-based and HST observations are critical for our understanding of small bodies and provide valuable support for ongoing and future spacecraft missions.
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