Pictures of Asteroid 2867 Steins from the Rosetta flyby

Sunday, September 07, 2008

At long last, we know exactly what the asteroid looks like: a diamond some 5 km in diameter. It has a lot of craters which means that it's quite old, and the crater on the top is 2 km in diameter.

Andrew Brown (known as 3488 on the forums on has written the following just now in another post on the flyby from before that explains it better than I can:

The 2867 Steins encounter was very successful & a great deal of great data returned.

The only real disappointment was that the Narrow Angle Camera on Osiris went into Safe Mode Nine minutes prior to closest approach, but the other camera worked perfectly throughout & did take some wonderful images.

I cannot seem to post images on here, but I will say, that 2867 Steins was larger than expected, 5.9 KM longest axis by 4 KM through the poles.

The shape can only be described as a 'cut diamond' from one angle & triangular from another. A large 2.5 KM crater contains the North Pole & there is also a peculiar seven crater 'crater chain'.

There are many other craters as expected, but the asteroid is very angular, which seems to support my own theory that 2867 Steins could be a block knocked off from 4 Vesta, also the basaltic composition will also tend to make the asteroid 'blocky' in shape, exactly what Rosetta showed.

Will be interesting to compare the 2867 Steins spectra to that of 4 Vesta when NASA's DAWN arrives at the giant asteroid.

I have posted images on as you would expect.
The thread where the images have been posted on is here.

So, is the flyby being reported? (checking front pages only) New York Times - nope. BBC - nope. CNN - nope. Ooh, CNN does have a simply fascinating looking story on a reporter that spent his summer vacation at an English caravan park instead.


Reuters has an article here though.


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