3D video Vesta

By Phil Plait | December 2, 2011 7:02 am

If you’ve ever wanted see what it would look like to orbit the asteroid Vesta in 3D, now’s your chance. You have to have red/green glasses, but I bet after seeing all the anaglyph posts I’ve made, a lot of you do. Anyway, this animation was made by NASA/JPL using data from the space probe Dawn when it was orbiting Vesta at a height of about 2700 km (1700 miles):

Very cool. I was struck the most by how the gigantic mound in the center of the south pole basin has actual and substantially-sized craters in it from impacts! Airless bodies have craters all over them — unless they resurface themselves, like Io’s volcanoes do or they have undersurface oceans like Enceladus and Europa — so it’s natural to see craters on a mountain. But usually mountains are relatively small, so big craters would wipe them out. But that mound on Vesta is huge — it rises 23 km (14 miles) above the basin floor! So there’s easily room on it for big craters.

Vesta’s a weird place, and I’m glad we’re studying it so closely. Even more closely than before in fact, since a couple of months ago Dawn dropped to only 750 km from the surface. The images it’s returning now are really amazing… as you can see for yourself!

Image and video credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Related posts:

Vesta’s odd bottom
Invaders from Vesta!
Vesta’s double whammy
Vesta in breathtaking detail

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, Pretty pictures
MORE ABOUT: anaglyph, asteroid, Dawn, Vesta

Comments (11)

  1. llewelly

    I still hate anaglyphs. I’ll take the eyestrain of two-image stereograms over those nasty color artifacts any day.

  2. Pepijn

    I wish people uploading 3D videos to YouTube would make use of YouTube’s native stereo 3D support instead of doing it themselves, so the viewer can choose which mechanism to use. I much prefer side-by-side viewing, you don’t need special glasses or other equipment and you don’t get any colour artefacts.

    I’m sure this video is spectacular in 3D, but since I don’t have 3D glasses (and I’m not going to go through the hassle of getting them just to view one video) I can’t tell…

  3. Ibeechu

    I agree very much, Pepijn. The 3D functionality is there; use it! I only have red/cyan glasses anyway, but this video still almost worked with them. Either way, anaglyph is distracting and I’d much prefer to see the 3D effect by crossing my eyes.

  4. Fred Murre

    3D glasses not available in all areas.

  5. Digital Atheist

    Sorry guys but I have to disagree. Anaglyphs are one of the few ways I can do 3D without getting a splitting headache. Stereograms always make me hurt big time.

  6. Messier Tidy Upper

    Impressive work – even viewed without 3D glasses. (Got a pair somewhere, must tidy and sort out desk and place generally one day soon.) Remarkable little mini-planet.

    Can’t wait until Dawn gets a matching one for Ceres after its been orbiting the largest member of the asteroid belt for a while as well as the brightest one. 8)

  7. Jess Tauber

    More Vesti-Buhler disruptions. Buhler?!? Buhler?!?

  8. Moose

    Huh. It seems I don’t need red-green glasses to get the 3D effect. My brain release apparently came with native wetware drivers. Sweet.

  9. JohnDoe

    a “real” youtube-3d video (with the freedom to pick the way you get your headache) is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGpZT8WL2y0

  10. So, it says the mountain on Vesta is 2.5 times taller than Mt Everest. But seeing as there are no seas and Vesta is a weird shape: how to do you determine the ‘height’ of a mountain? Where do you measure from?

  11. Matt B.

    It would be more fair to measure mountain heights between worlds in terms of gravitational potential difference from top to bottom. Y = ∫(g)dh.


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