Astronomy Picture of the Day
November 19, 2012

Flooded by the Night...
Flooded by the Night...

Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona - Credits for the additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/Lunar Explorer Italia/IPF

It is only 3:28 PM on Mars, but the dark and long shadows announcing the Sunset have already flooded more than one half of this approximately 8 Kilometer-diameter Unnamed Southern Impact Crater. However, if most of this Impact Feature is already in the darkness, what we can still see (thanks to the very specific, and highly suggestive, Illumination Geometry) is quite interesting: to be more precise, the really intriguing portion of the Crater that we are looking at, is found in the Light-toned Bands visible on the Upper Slopes of its Inner (and Eastern) Wall. Now, since it appears (actually, we cannot be sure with one-hundred-percent certainty) that the Light-toned Bands are confined to a distinct elevation within the Crater, it is possible that they represent a well-defined Layer (made of a - so far - unidentified Rocky Material that possesses a remarkably high and distinctive Albedo) that, probably in relatively recent times, got exposed in the Crater Walls. If you want to see a similar Unnamed Southern Impact Crater under an almost identical Illumination Geometry, please check our APOD's Archives, and then go to the APOD of May, 12th, 2012 (whose title was "Long Shadows over an Unnamed Southern Crater").

Mars Local Time: 15:28 (Early Afternoon)
Coord. (centered): 38,687° South Lat. and 168,843° East Long.
Spacecraft altitude: 253,6 Km (such as about 158,5 miles)
Original image scale range: 50,8 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~ 1 mt and 52 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale: 50 cm/pixel
Emission Angle: 1,7°
Sun-Mars-MRO (or "Phase") Angle: 79,4°
Solar Incidence Angle: 80° (meaning that the Sun was about 10° above the Local Horizon at the time that the picture was taken)
Solar Longitude: 84° (Northern Spring - Southern Autumn)
Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Additional process. and coloring: Lunar Explorer Italia

This picture (which is a crop from a NASA - Original Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter CTX b/w frame, identified by the serial n. PSP_008792_1410) 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 - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and then looked down, towards the Surface of Mars), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team.

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