PIA02490: Eros' North Polar Region

Eros’ North Polar Region


On March 11, 2000, this image of Eros' north polar region was acquired by the imager on the NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft, from a range of 206 kilometers (127 miles). The area shown in the image is 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) across. Most of the north polar region is heavily cratered but the region to the left (part of the "saddle") has a lower crater density, indicating that the surface has been modified since it first formed. Eros' rotational axis lies nearly parallel to its orbital plane, much as with the planet Uranus, giving the asteroid exaggerated "seasons." Now, it is northern summer and the north pole is in continuous sunlight. The Sun will set there this June, at Eros' equivalent of Earth's autumnal equinox. At that time, Eros' south pole will begin 12 months of continuous illumination while the north pole remains in darkness.

Background Info:

Built and managed by The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland, NEAR was the first spacecraft launched in NASA's Discovery Program of low-cost, small-scale planetary missions. See the NEAR web page at http://near.jhuapl.edu/ for more details.

Cataloging Keywords:

Name Value Additional Values
Target 433 Eros Earth, Sun, Uranus
System Asteroid Belt, Earth, Uranus
Target Type Earth Asteroid, Planet, Sun
Mission NEAR Shoemaker
Instrument Host NEAR Shoemaker
Host Type Orbiter
Instrument Multi-Spectral Imager (MSI)
Extra Keywords Crater, Grayscale
Acquisition Date
Release Date 2000-06-10
Date in Caption 2000-03-11
Source photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA02490
Identifier PIA02490