Eros rotation movie shows surface details
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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.

(Images 0125212625-0125232879)

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