Astronomy Picture of the Day
April 10, 2013

Faulkner Crater
Faulkner Crater

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.

In today's APOD, we can see relatively young and smooth Lava Plains which have filled and partially (actually, almost completely) buried the Mercurian Faulkner Crater (approx. 168 Km - such as about 104,32 miles - in diameter), leaving only the Northern three-quarters of its highly degraded Rim visible. These smooth Lava Plains, which have relatively few superposed Impact Craters (and that is why they can be considered - always relatively speaking - "young") and appear of a light brown-pink color in this Absolute Natural Colors image, were - likely - emplaced when powerful Volcanic Flows breached Faulkner's Southern Rim, invaded the whole Floor of the Crater and then set, leaving only the highest-standing portions of Terrain (such as, as we wrote herebefore, some part of its Northern Rim) almost intact.

Date acquired: January, 19th, 2013
Images Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 878881, 878901, 878885
Images ID: 3356193, 3356198, 3356194
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 8,61° North
Center Longitude: 77,37° East
Resolution: 299 meters/pixel
Solar Incidence Angle: 36,5° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 53,5° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 43,6°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 78,1°

This picture (which has been cropped from an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft false color image-mosaic published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16908) has been additionally processed and then re-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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