Astronomy Picture of the Day
October 16, 2012

The True Colors of Cezanne
The True Colors of Cezanne

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.

In this extremely suggestive image-composite (which was obtained by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft ), the Bright Rays of Mena Crater and the distinctive color difference of Cezanne Crater (which is the Crater visible in the bottom center of the frame and whose diameter is about 67 km, such as approx. 41 miles), with their complex surrounding areas, are well highlighted. These two very distinctive Impact Features provide a really beautiful contrast into this Absolute Natural Color image, giving to the viewer more insight into the Reflectance Variations (---> Albedoes) existing on Mercury's Surface. Also note the extremely old, degraded and larger, infilled Unnamed Crater visible on the center right of the frame, which is crossed by (at least) 3 (three) major Crater Chains.

Date acquired: June, 4th, 2012
Images Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 247336883, 247336875, 247336879
Images ID: 1955368, 1955366, 1955367
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
WAC filter: 9 (976 nanometers), 7 (748 nanometers), 6 (433 nanometers), in Red, Green and Blue
Center Latitude: 3,78° South
Center Longitude: 235,8° East
Resolution: 552 meters/pixel
Solar Incidence Angle: 55,6° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the pictures were taken, was about 34,4° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 0,0° (meaning that the MESSENGER Spacecraft, at the time that the pictures were taken, was absolutely perpendicular to the Mercurian Surface visible at the center of the frame)
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 55,6°

This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft color frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16341) 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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