This image from NASA's Dawn mission shows a shadowy view of the northern hemisphere of the giant asteroid Vesta, using pictures obtained during Dawn's last look back. Around the time of Dawn's departure from Vesta in the late summer of 2012, dawn was beginning to creep over the high northern latitudes, which were dark when Dawn arrived in the summer of 2011.
The black-and-white mosaic is composed of five images obtained by Dawn's framing camera on Aug. 26, 2012, while Dawn was at an altitude of about 4,000 miles (6,000 kilometers). In the mosaic, two large impact craters can be seen. One is relatively fresh with nosmaller impacts on its floor. There is also a second larger and older crater with many smaller impacts on its floor. The mosaic, which is a stereographic projection, extends out to about 30 degrees of latitude south of the north pole.
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://www.nasa.gov/dawn and http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov.