Astronomy Picture of the Day
February 8, 2013

On the Edge of Kipling
On the Edge of Kipling

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 Mercurian Impact Crater "Kipling" was originally perfectly circular, but that shape changed dramatically when the Unnamed Impact Crater (having a diameter of approx. 88 Km) visible in this image - taken by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft in the early January 2012 - was formed. Situated atop (and therefore postdating) the Southern Margin of Kipling, this smaller (and obviously - relatively - younger) Impact Crater has a distinctive Central Peak that is encircled by a curious, near-circular Depression and this Depression - NASA says, but we, as IPF, humbly believe that such an hypothesis is extremely unlikely - may be a Volcanic Pit, like other similar ones dotting the Surface of Mercury (and notice that one of these Volcanic Pits can be found inside Kipling Crater itself). The smooth Floor of this Unnamed Impact Crater shows subtle evidence of Tectonic Deformation, like it can also be seen in many other "infilled" (---> material that fills in an otherwise unoccupied/empty space) Impact Craters which are found all across the Innermost Planet of the Solar System.

Date acquired: January, 3rd, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 234068866
Image ID: 1218101
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 20,83° South
Center Longitude: 73,02° East
Resolution: 104 meters/pixel
Solar Incidence Angle: 67,2° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the pictures were taken, was about 22,8° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 58,7°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 28,2°

This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft b/w image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16778) 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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