Astronomy Picture of the Day
September 10, 2012

Atget Crater
Atget Crater

Credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington and Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF for the additional process. and color.

Recently named after the French photographer Eugène Atget, Atget Crater, seen in the middle of the lower portion of this NAC image, is distinctive on Mercury's Surface due to its dark color (much darker than the color of the Surface that surrounds it). Atget Crater is located within the Caloris Basin, near Apollodorus Crater and Pantheon Fossae, which are also both visible in this image to the North-West of Atget (approx. at 9 o' clock). The dark color of the Floor of Atget is in contrast to the one of other Impact Craters located within Caloris Basin that, instead, exhibit bright materials on their Floors, such as the Impact Craters Kertész and Sander (in this frame, however, you can see the Unnamed Crater located at the very top of the picture, near 12 o' clock, whose Floor exhibits at least three bright white patches of unknown Material). Other Mercurian Craters, such as Basho and Neruda, have Halos of dark material around them, but said dark material does not cover (neither in whole, nor in part) their Floors

Date Acquired: January 14, 2008
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 108828540
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Resolution: 520 meters/pixel (such as 0,32 miles/pixel)
Scale: this image shows a scene that is about 530 Km (approx. 330 miles) across
Spacecraft Altitude: about 20.300 Km (approx. 12.600 miles)


This frame has been additionally processed and then colorized in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Messenger Spacecraft and then looked outside, towards the Surface of the Planet Mercury), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team. Different colors, as well as different shades of the same color, mean, among others, the existence of different Elements present on the Surface of Mercury, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.

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