Picture of the Day: Composite Showing Sizes of Nine Asteroids

571642main_image_2010_1024-768.jpg

This composite image, with Vesta at the center, shows the relative size of nine asteroids that astronomers have been watching. "Up until now, Lutetia, with a diameter of 81 miles (130 kilometers), was the largest asteroid visited by a spacecraft, which occurred during a flyby," NASA explained. "Vesta dwarfs all other small bodies in this image." And we'll soon know more about Vesta, which is so large that it's also considered a protoplanet; at a diameter of about 330 meters, the asteroid came very close to moving into a new level of classification.

The Dawn probe, managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory but part of an international cooperative, reached Vesta in mid-July and will remain there, orbiting the planet and studying it, until 2012. At that point, it will leave Vesta's orbit and head to Ceres, another protoplanet.

View more Pictures of the Day.

Image: NASA.

Presented by

Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. Who cares about youth? James Hamblin turns to his colleague Jeffrey Goldberg for advice.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. James Hamblin turns to a colleague for advice.

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Video

Pittsburgh: 'Better Than You Thought'

How Steel City became a bikeable, walkable paradise

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

More in Technology

Just In