Eros in a Different Light
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Eros in a Different Light

October 23, 2009
During the 28 days the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft circled Eros in a 200-kilometer (124-mile) altitude orbit, it imaged parts of the surface under a variety of lighting and viewing conditions. The different views of the surface allow study of small-scale morphology, analysis of albedo and color variations, and construction of topographic models from stereo images.

This image, taken April 2, 2000, from a range of 199 kilometers (123 miles), shows the effects of lighting changes. At the bottom of the frame, sunlight illuminates the surface at a grazing angle. The strong shadows bring out subtle landforms like the gentle undulations in the surface, visible at the lower center. At the top of the frame, sunlight strikes the surface at a high angle and shadows become subdued, bringing out brightness variations like those on the wall of the large, 5.5-kilometer (3.4-mile) diameter crater at left.

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