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Vesta and the giant polar crater
antipode
post Mar 8 2010, 12:07 AM
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I cant see any evidence that the giant south polar crater on Vesta - whose existence has been known since the first Hubble images were returned in the 90s, even if the current fidelity of the data is low - has actually been named. This seems odd to me as it is clearly the most prominent feature on Vesta's surface.

What are the (IAU?) protocols on naming in the case of 'small bodies' (I dont think Vesta makes the grade as a 'minor planet')? Is there going to be a 'theme' for names features on Vesta (and Ceres for that matter?). I know that for Eros for example, features weren't named until after NEARs arrival, but then again no features could have been named until then, unlike Vesta.

Are we basically waiting for high fidelity data from DAWN?

P
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Explorer1
post Mar 8 2010, 12:27 AM
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If it turns out to be something unexpected, like for instance two or more craters that just look like one, I imagine they'd err on the side of caution. A little over a year to go either way, so not long a wait.
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Antdoghalo
post Mar 8 2010, 12:58 AM
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QUOTE (Explorer1 @ Mar 7 2010, 07:27 PM) *
If it turns out to be something unexpected, like for instance two or more craters that just look like one, I imagine they'd err on the side of caution. A little over a year to go either way, so not long a wait.


Why cant they name anything on comets is it because they change a lot
asteroid Steins still has no named features nor does saturns moons helene,pandora or telesto.

But i dont think its possible to name anything on Vesta until dawn arrives because of the reasons Explorer1 pointed out.


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tasp
post Mar 8 2010, 01:42 AM
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suggestion:

Features on Vesta to be named for UMSF Award winners . . . .


smile.gif
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nprev
post Mar 8 2010, 02:06 AM
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Actually, it is a bit puzzling that Vesta's huge (probable) crater hasn't apparently been named yet. Xanadu on Titan was named based on ground observations pre-Cassini, and nobody knew even approximately what it was!


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Phil Stooke
post Mar 8 2010, 02:35 AM
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The people who run these things prefer not to name things just because they have been seen. They wait until there is a likely need for names in a growing literature on the body. When a few features are seen in approach images of Vesta it will be time to start assigning names, for use in the following months of exploration and years of study. I agree that the big crater could be named now but there's no pressing need yet.

I'm sure features on Rosetta's comet will be named, and I might expect some names on Tempel-1 as well in due course.

Re: Xanadu - that was an informal name pre-Cassini. It only became official in 2006. Vesta does have a named feature now - Olbers Regio, the dark spot which was its first known feature, but it is still unofficial.

Phil


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