Astronomy Picture of the Day
February 27, 2013

Approaching Caloris Basin
Approaching Caloris Basin

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 view of the Mercurian Horizon (as seen from the orbit), was obtained by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft in December 2012, and the Region that is visible here is located near the Rim of the large Mercurian Impact Basin known as Caloris Basin. The Rim of Caloris Basin is marked by Hills and Mountains, and some of them can already be seen in the distance (note that the Mountain visible on the left side of the Mercurian Horizon is located at, roughly, 13° North Latitude and 152° East Longitude). Furthermore, in order to give you an idea of the actual dimensions of the photographed landscape, consider that the bottom of the frame is approx. 210 Km (such as a little more than 130 miles) across.

Date acquired: December, 18th, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 264299214
Image ID: 3161641
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 6,00° North
Center Longitude: 149,00° East

This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft b/w image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16854) 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 and ahead, towards both the Surface and the distant Horizon 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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