Astronomy Picture of the Day
March 23, 2013

Stephania Crater and other Features of Sedna Planitia
Stephania Crater and other Features of Sedna Planitia

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

The Venusian Impact Crater Stephania is located at 51,3° North Latitude and 333,3° East Longitude, in the Northern portion of the Sedna Planitia Region. With a diameter of approx. 11 Km (such as about 6,83 miles), Stephania Crater it is one of the smaller Venusian Impact Craters; since many small meteoroids disintegrate during their passage through the extremely dense Atmosphere of Venus, as we wrote in the past few days, there is an absence, on the whole Surface of this Planet, of Impact Craters smaller than approx. 3 Km (such as about 1,863 miles) in diameter and, furthermore, even the number of Impact Craters which have a diameter smaller than approx. 25 Km (such as about 15,52 miles) are relatively scarce.

The Apron of Ejected Material, here, suggests that the Impactor which created Stephania Crater, made contact with the Surface of Venus at a very oblique angle. Upon closer observations, it is also possible to delineate a few Secondary Craters (---> Impact "Scars" caused by huge blocks of Material ejected from the Primary Crater). A Surface Feature that is associated with this and many other Venusian Impact Craters, is a Radar-dark Halo. Since a "Dark Radar Return" signifies, as you know, the presence of a Smooth Surface, it has been hypothesized that an intense Shock Wave might have removed (or even pulverized) all the rough Surface Material existing in the area where the Impact Event occurred, or that a thick "blanket" of very Fine (---> Dusty) Material was deposited all over the place right after and for quite some time the Impact. We, as IPF, after considering all the variables, believe that this second scenario is more plausible.

This frame (which is an Original NASA - Magellan Spacecraft Radio-Image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the n. PIA 00475), since it is just a Radio-Image of the Venusian Surface and NOT a real view of it, has been colorized, according to an educated guess carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga (LXTT-IPF), in what they could reasonably be its possible Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Magellan Spacecraft and, once the thick layer of Venusian Clouds and Fogs is completely overcome, looked down, towards the Surface of Venus itself), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team.

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