Where is Vesta?
Note: Make sure you have Java enabled on your browser to see the applet. (And please give it a moment to load!)
Orbit Viewer applet originally written and kindly provided by Osamu Ajiki (AstroArts),
and further modified by Ron Baalke (JPL).
If you'd like to check out the interactive orbital displays for other comets and asteroids, please visit the NEO Program.
Where do I look in the sky?
The above graphic is pretty cool, but how will it tell me where to look? The Dawn spacecraft itself will be too tiny and dim to see. Although you won't be able to see the spacecraft, you can try to find the asteroids Ceres and Vesta.
Be sure to take a look at Reading an Orbital Diagram to get some basic background on interpreting this graphic and what the sliders and other adjustments do.
Set the date for the middle of the month. Then adjust the sliders so that you are looking at the Solar System from overhead, that Earth is at the "bottom," and the zoom includes Jupiter.
For May 2008, Vesta is in the morning sky. We are slowly catching up to it so it will rise a little earlier each night.
Jun-Sep 2008, Vesta rises after the sunset.
October 2008, Vesta is observable all night and is at opposition in late Oct.
For other charts, look on the Star Charts page.