Eros’ saddle

On February 1 the multispectral imager on the NEAR spacecraft
acquired this image of the asteroid 433 Eros.
When the image was acquired, NEAR was approximately 7,800 miles
(11,600 km) from the asteroid. The image is part of a series taken during
calibration tests being conducted during in the
last stages of approach to the asteroid.

At this resolution of 0.7 miles (1.2 km) per pixel,
a “saddle” is apparent at the upper left of the asteroid,
near the terminator separating the day and night sides.
This saddle, discovered in NEAR flyby images taken in December 1998,
is the location of unusual bright
rock deposits that scientists are eagerly waiting to see in high
resolution images from Eros orbit later this month.