Astronomy Picture of the Day
March 29, 2013

Rocky Rays
Rocky Rays

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.

Even when they are not visible in the picture, the Mercurian Impact Craters Debussy and Berkel still leave their deep "marks" on that portion of Surface that has been photographed and which lies in their - even not immediate - "proximities": in fact, the huge Rays coming from Debussy Crater, which is outside of the image (and located to the South/West), and from Berkel Crater (even this one outside of the frame, but located to the North/East), cross the whole scene which is approx. 570 Km - such as about 353,96 miles - across.

Date acquired: March, 3rd, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 4620855
Image ID: 3622493
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 18,53° South
Center Longitude: 19,80° East
Resolution: 449 meters/pixel
Solar Incidence Angle: 31,7° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 58,3° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 51,4°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 28,0°

This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16904) 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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