Eros rotation movie shows surface details
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Eros rotation movie shows surface details

October 22, 2009
On February 6, the NEAR Multispectral Imager (MSI) took this 720-image rotation movie of Eros at a distance of 4000 miles (6500 km) from NEAR's target asteroid. The images were acquired over one Eros "day", which is 5.27 hours long. The smallest detail visible is approximately 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) in size.

This rotation sequence puts key details of Eros's surface into perspective. As Eros rotates, its landforms can be observed at varying illuminations that accentuate different details of the topography. For example, watching the "saddle" reveals a scalloped outline to this "bite" out of Eros. The raised rim on the large impact crater on the opposite side of the asteroid also becomes clear as the lighting geometry changes.

NEAR is acquiring three additional movies on approach, on Feb. 10, 11, and 12. These will provide increasingly detailed information of Eros's shape, landforms, and color properties before the orbital mission begins on Feb. 14.

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