Astronomy Picture of the Day
April 5, 2013

Etched by Hollows
Etched by Hollows

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 image (taken by the NASA - Messenger Spacecraft in middle February 2013), shows us an area of ~ 23 Km - such as about 14,28 miles - across that is located within an Unnamed Mercurian Impact Basin that has been litterally "etched" by Hollows. Out of curiosity, this is the only area within the Basin in which Hollows are found. To the bottom left portion of the frame, some part of the Peak Ring of the Basin can also be seen and, most likely, this Peak Ring has been heavily modified by a number of subsequent impacts.

Date acquired: February, 13th, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 3038823
Image ID: 3509823
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 43,52° North
Center Longitude: 291,50° East
Resolution: 21 meters/pixel
Solar Incidence Angle: 74,2° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 15,8° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 10,4°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 63,8°

This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16940) 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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