This Dawn FC (framing camera) image shows Aricia Tholus, the dark hill that was presented in the previous Image of the Day. Tholus is a word used to describe a small dome-like mountain or hill. Aricia was the name of a city in ancient Italy. Aricia Tholus has a roughly 2 kilometer (1 mile) diameter crater near its summit, which is surrounded by a dark area. Dark rays extend from the summit for more than 10 kilometers (6 miles). The origin and formation mechanism of Aricia Tholus is currently under discussion. Also visible in this image are narrow, linear depressions (top left corner) and many degraded craters of various sizes.
This image is located in Vesta’s Marcia quadrangle and the center of the image is 10.3 degrees north latitude, 163.2 degrees east longitude. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on Oct. 21, 2011. This image was taken through the camera’s clear filter. The distance to the surface of Vesta is 700 kilometers (435 miles) and the image has a resolution of about 70 meters (230 feet) per pixel. This image was acquired during the HAMO (high-altitude mapping orbit) phase of the mission.
The Dawn mission to Vesta and Ceres is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington D.C. UCLA is responsible for overall Dawn mission science. The Dawn framing cameras have been developed and built under the leadership of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany, with significant contributions by DLR German Aerospace Center, Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin, and in coordination with the Institute of Computer and Communication Network Engineering, Braunschweig. The Framing Camera project is funded by the Max Planck Society, DLR, and NASA/JPL.
More information about Dawn is online at http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA