Astronomy Picture of the Day
November 25, 2012

Raffaello Crater
Raffaello 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.

This beautiful Absolute Natural Color image-mosaic of the huge Impact Basin Raffaello (named after the Italian Renaissance painter and having a diameter of approx. 343 Km), taken in the past month of October 2012 by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft, shows us a wide diversity of colors (which, as you know, represent a wide variety of Mineral Compositions) that exist and can be easily identified within the Volcanic Plains that, eons ago, flooded the Raffaello Basin's Floor. Furthermore, many white-colored Hollows appear to be in process of being formed along most of the Rim and the Northern portion of the Floor - and, in both cases, they are forming in the so-called Low Reflectance Material (or LRM for short) - of a smaller - roughly 40-Kilometer (such as approx. 25-miles) diameter -, Unnamed and Highly Complex Impact Crater that is located just South of the center of the giant Raffaello Basin.


Date acquired: October, 19th, 2012
Images Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 259122560, 259122580, 259122564
Images ID: 2793045, 2793050, 2793046
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 20,39° South
Center Longitude: 283,6° East
Resolution: 599 meters/pixel
Solar Incidence Angle: 53,4° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the pictures were taken, was about 36,6° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 27,0°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 80,3°


This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft color frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16307) 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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