Astronomy Picture of the Day
December 21, 2012

Kertész Crater
Kertész 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.

The bright and white-colored Material so clearly visible all over the Floor of Kertész Crater (whose diameter is approx. 31 Km - such as a little more than 19 miles) is not - despite its color and physical appearence - the Water Ice that has been recently confirmed to be present deep inside many Impact Craters located near Mercury's Poles, but it might well be behaving as Ice would on another Planet.

As a matter of fact, Mercury's Daytime Temperatures are so hot at most Latitudes that several kinds of Rocks (---> Minerals) which would be quite stable at other places in the Solar System, may essentially evaporate on Mercury. That is just one (a new one, we believe) theory that could explain the formation of these bright, irregular Features known as "Hollows" and seen here and, as you should already know very well, in many other places on the Planet Mercury (however, these fascinating Surface Features must, somehow - and in our humble opinion, as IPF -, be related to Impact Mechanics since they can mostly - if not exclusively - be found either inside, or on the Rims and/or, often, in close proximities with Impact Craters).

Date acquired: November, 17th, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 261598284
Image ID: 2969138
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 27,38° North
Center Longitude: 145,5° East
Resolution: 46 meters/pixel
Solar Incidence Angle: 42,6° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the pictures were taken, was about 47,4° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 59,7°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 91,4°

This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16624) 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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