Color and albedo heterogeneity of Vesta from Dawn

Vishnu Reddy, Andreas Nathues, Lucille Le Corre, Holger Sierks, Jian Yang Li, Robert Gaskell, Timothy McCoy, Andrew W. Beck, Stefan E. Schröder, Carle M. Pieters, Kris J. Becker, Bonnie J. Buratti, Brett Denevi, David T. Blewett, Ulrich Christensen, Michael J. Gaffey, Pablo Gutierrez-Marques, Michael Hicks, Horst Uwe Keller, Thorsten MaueStefano Mottola, Lucy A. McFadden, Harry Y. McSween, David Mittlefehldt, David P. O'Brien, Carol Raymond, Christopher Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

158 Scopus citations


Multispectral images (0.44 to 0.98 mm) of asteroid (4) Vesta obtained by the Dawn Framing Cameras reveal global color variations that uncover and help understand the north-south hemispherical dichotomy. The signature of deep lithologies excavated during the formation of the Rheasilvia basin on the south pole has been preserved on the surface. Color variations (band depth, spectral slope, and eucrite-diogenite abundance) clearly correlate with distinct compositional units. Vesta displays the greatest variation of geometric albedo (0.10 to 0.67) of any asteroid yet observed. Four distinct color units are recognized that chronicle processes - including impact excavation, mass wasting, and space weathering - that shaped the asteroid's surface. Vesta's color and photometric diversity are indicative of its status as a preserved, differentiated protoplanet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)700-704
Number of pages5
Issue number6082
StatePublished - May 11 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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