Wednesday, May 04, 2011
That's Vesta taken from the Hubble and the first photographs from Dawn won't be that detailed, but they'll still be pictures taken from just a million or so km away, and will rapidly increase in size.
Even though the mysterious orb is still too far away to reveal new features, it will be exciting to receive these first images. For most of the two centuries that Vesta has been studied, it has been little more than a pinpoint of light....Dawn will watch it grow from about five pixels across to 12. By June, the images should be comparable to the tantalizing views obtained by the Hubble Space Telescope. As the approach phase continues and the distance diminishes, the focus will grow still sharper and new details will appear in each subsequent set of pictures. During the approach phase, images will be released in periodic batches, with priority viewing for residents of Earth. The flow will be more frequent thereafter.