Astronomy Picture of the Day
October 12, 2012

The True Colors of Rembrandt
The True Colors of Rembrandt

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.

The large Rembrandt Impact Basin is quite evident on the left side of this image and, in contrast to the relatively dark Surface Material that surrounds it, Amaral Crater and its bright Rays can be very well seen on the right. The Rembrandt Impact Basin is an area of particular scientific interest due to its large size, (relatively) young age, and extensional/contractional characteristics. In fact, Rembrandt was highlighted in a publication of the Science Magazine in the AD 2009 and featured on the cover.


This image was acquired as part of MDIS's Color Base Map. The Color Base Map is composed of WAC images taken through 8 (eight) different narrow-band color filters and it will cover more than 90% of Mercury's Surface, with an average resolution of approx. 1 Km-per-pixel (such as about 0,6 miles/pixel). The highest-quality color images are obtained for Mercury's Surface when both the Spacecraft and the Sun are overhead, so these images typically (but NOT always)* are taken with viewing conditions of low Solar Incidence and Emission angles.


* Note: we, as IPF, underlined the last information that was given by the NASA People by adding, in parenthesis, the words "but NOT always", because, as you can easily verify by reading the picture data reported herebelow, if it is true that the Emission Angle nears (zero degrees - meaning that the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft was almost perpendicular to the center of the imaged portion of the Mercurian Surface), the Solar Incidence Angle, on the other hand, was far from being "low" (actually, it was 50,5°!).


Date acquired: July, 11th, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 218833662
Image ID: 489008
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 9 (1000 nanometers), 7 (750 nanometers), 6 (433 nanometers)
Center Latitude: 34,67° South
Center Longitude: 100,4° East
Resolution: 1853 meters/pixel
Solar Incidence Angle: 50,5° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 39,5° above the Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 0,4°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 50,5°


This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft color frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 14497) has been additionally processed and then re-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 down, towards the Surface of 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 other things, the existence of different Elements (Minerals) present on the Surface of Mercury, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.



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