Astronomy Picture of the Day
November 17, 2012

Features of Rachmaninoff Crater (Part I)
Features of Rachmaninoff Crater (Part I)

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.

Today's APOD takes us, once again, on the barren Surface of the always fascinating Planet Mercury, and this a NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's view of Rachmaninoff: a spectacular Double-Ring Impact Basin located on the Northern Hemisphere of the Innermost Planet of the Solar System (note that this Absolute Natural Color view is one of the Highest Resolution color image sets ever acquired of its Inner Ring Peak Structure and the Floor). Well visible all around the edges of the frame is a circle of Mountains that make up Rachmaninoff's Inner Peak Ring Structure, which surrounds Concentric Troughs located on the on the Basin Floor. It is interesting to notice how different is the color of the Floor of Rachmaninoff as to the Inner Ring Peak structure: a difference in color that is the evidence of the fact that the Mountains forming the Inner Ring Peak Structure are made of (or, perhaps, covered by) Low Reflectance Material (or LRF for short ---> such as Material having a very low Albedo): one of the Major Color-Compositional Units that has been - so far - identified on Mercury through the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's Multispectral Images.

Date acquired: July, 31st, 2012
Images Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 252265403, 252265399, 252265395 
Images ID: 2305612, 2305611, 2305610
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 27,64° North
Center Longitude: 57,58° East
Resolution: 149 meters/pixel
Solar Incidence Angle: 39,7° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the pictures were taken, was about 50,3° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 19,2°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 59,0°

This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft color frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16399) 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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