Astronomy Picture of the Day
September 9, 2012

Mt. Sharp, from orbit
Mt. Sharp, from orbit

Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona - Credits for the additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/Lunar Explorer Italia/IPF

Today's APOD image was acquired by the NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter just 24 hours after the NASA - Mars Science Rover and Laboratory "Curiosity" landed inside Gale Crater; the picture was taken with the aim of locating the different Hardware Pieces (i.e.: the Sky Crane, the Heat-Shield, and the Backshell with the Parachute) that fell onto the Surface. This strip, however, even though it does not show any of the aforementioned Hardware, it does provide a spectacular Oblique View of a portion of Gale's Central Mound, or "Mount Sharp" (Aeolis Mons). The Emission Angle (also known as "Viewing Angle") is almost 45°, which makes us look at the Mount Sharp as if we were looking outside from an airplane window.

Mars Local Time: 15:15 (early afternoon)
Coord. (centered): 4,624° South Lat. and 137,402° East Long.
Spacecraft altitude: 367,2 Km (such as about 229,5 miles)
Original image scale range: 36,7 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binning) so objects ~ 1 mt and 10 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale: 25 cm/pixel
Emission Angle: 44,9°
Phase Angle: 93,1°
Solar Incidence Angle: 51° (meaning that the Sun was about 39° above the Local Horizon at the time the picture was taken)
Solar Longitude: 151,2° (Northern Summer - Southern Winter)
Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Additional process. and coloring: Lunar Explorer Italia

This frame has been colorized in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and then looked down, towards the Surface of Mars), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team.

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