Zebra Stripes
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Zebra Stripes

October 26, 2009
With the Sun low in Eros' sky, bright spots on the surface mostly result from differences between Sun-facing and shaded slopes. With a high Sun there is little shadowing, so brightness differences arise mostly from variations in the reflectivity of surface materials.

In this NEAR Shoemaker picture, taken August 9, 2000, from an orbital altitude of 51 kilometers (32 miles), surface slope changes dramatically over a short distance. The bottom half of the image is obliquely illuminated, whereas the top half is directly under the Sun. The broad, gentle troughs at the bottom become diffuse brightness stripes when the shadowing decreases toward the top of the picture, hinting at the complex interplay of material properties and illumination that creates the appearance of Eros' surface. The picture shows a region about 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) across.

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