Astronomy Picture of the Day
November 6, 2012

Features of Dominici Crater
Features of Dominici 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.

A new look at the Mercurian Crater Dominici - named in March 2010 after the Maltese sculptor and painter Suor Maria de Dominici (1645-1703) - shows its spectacular interior overlapping Slumps (---> Landslides) and the Hollows that cover the Floor and a portion of the Rim. Pictures taken by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft during its second Fly-By of Mercury, showed that Dominici Crater has unusual spectral properties, and now we know that these unusual color properties are associated with the presence of Hollows.

Date acquired: August, 20th, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 253965560
Image ID: 2426462
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 1,35° North
Center Longitude: 323,4° East
Resolution: 50 meters/pixel
Solar Incidence Angle: 36,2° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 53,8° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 42,3°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 78,6°

This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16395) 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 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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