Astronomy Picture of the Day
April 12, 2013

Central Peak with Hollows
Central Peak with 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 - shows us the Hollow-covered Central Peak Structure (a Feature that is also often called Central Uplift) of a Mercurian Northern Hemisphere's Unnamed Impact Crater having a diameter of about 60 Km (such as approx. 37,26 miles). It is now clear that these mysterious Mercurian Surface Features known as "Hollows" are not only related - as it was thought at the beginning - to (relatively) flat surfaces (such as the Floors of a countless number of Impact Craters) or on areas located near or on top of the Rims of said Impact Craters: it has been now visually proven that the Hollows can also be found on highly irregular (---> NOT "flat") and complex rocky structures (---> Central Peaks and, maybe, Hills and Mountains). And, in the meanwhile, the search continues...

Date acquired: March, 24th, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 6465097
Image ID: 3753557
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 36,20° North
Center Longitude: 244,20° East
Resolution: 29 meters/pixel
Solar Incidence Angle: 61,7° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 28,3° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 21,1°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 65,8°

This picture (which has been cropped from an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16952) 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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