NEAR Image of the Day for 2000 May 30

Eros Global Rotation Movie

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On March 22, 2000, while in orbit 124 miles (200 kilometers) from Eros, the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft captured this rotation movie of the asteroid’s northern hemisphere. The movie features three of Eros’ major morphologic features under dynamically changing lighting conditions. The "saddle" region appears first; then from the shadows emerges a prominent ridge that extends across one-third of the asteroid’s circumference. After a pass over the large, 3-mile (5-kilometer) impact crater that dominates the opposite side of the tumbling space rock, the sequence concludes with a view of the pockmarked landscape under the Eros horizon.

Creating flyover movies from individual images allows geologists to characterize the asteroid’s landforms and separate the effects of topography from differences in reflectivity – making these movies valuable scientific tools. The numbers at the bottom of the frame indicate the Universal Time (UT) each image was acquired and the corresponding sub-spacecraft latitude and longitude on Eros.