::4 Vesta


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Vesta, minor-planet designation 4 Vesta, is one of the largest objects in the asteroid belt, with a mean diameter of {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}}.<ref name="Russell2012"/> It was discovered by the German astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers on 29 March 1807<ref name="jpldata"/> and is named after Vesta, the virgin goddess of home and hearth from Roman mythology.

Vesta is the second-most-massive object in the asteroid belt after the dwarf planet Ceres,<ref name="NASADawnMission"/><ref name="newscientist"/><ref name="BBCNews"/><ref name="CambridgeSS"/><ref name="UT"/><ref name="Hubble2008"/><ref name="Russell2011"/> and it contributes an estimated 9% of the mass of the asteroid belt.<ref name="Pitjeva05"/> Vesta is the second-largest asteroid, only slightly larger than Pallas,<ref name=Carry2009/> but significantly more massive. Vesta is the last remaining rocky protoplanet (with a differentiated interior) of the kind that formed the terrestrial planets.<ref name="Hubble"/><ref name="MAX"/><ref name="lastofkind"/> Numerous fragments of Vesta were ejected by collisions one and two billion years ago that left two enormous craters occupying much of Vesta's southern hemisphere.<ref name="Jutzi2013"/><ref name="Cook2014a"/> Debris from these events has fallen to Earth as howardite–eucrite–diogenite (HED) meteorites, which have been a rich source of information about Vesta.<ref name="McSween2013"/><ref name="Kelley2003"/><ref name="nasa2011-vesta"/>

Vesta is the brightest asteroid visible from Earth. Its maximum distance from the Sun is slightly greater than the minimum distance of Ceres from the Sun,Unknown extension tag "ref" though its orbit lies entirely within that of Ceres.<ref name="GravitySim"/>

NASA's Dawn spacecraft entered orbit around Vesta on 16 July 2011 for a one-year exploration and left orbit on 5 September 2012<ref name="Dawnstatus"/> en route to its final destination, Ceres. Researchers continue to examine data collected by Dawn for additional insights into the formation and history of Vesta.<ref name="Ammannito2013"/><ref name="Cook2014b"/>

4 Vesta sections
Intro  Discovery  Orbit  Rotation  Physical characteristics  Surface features  Geology  Fragments  Exploration   Visibility    See also   Notes  References   External links   

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