Astronomy Picture of the Day
April 22, 2013

Volcanic Vent?
Volcanic Vent?

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.

Today's APOD is a NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft frame that shows a potential Volcanic Vent located within the Mercurian Impact Crater Glinka. The resolution of this image (which is approx. 46 Km - such as about 28,566 miles - across) is more than two times better than the one of quite a few previous images of the same area, but there are still many doubts among Planetary Scientists that the Depression of the Surface that we see here is actually a Volcanic Vent (---> as a matter of fact, it could also easily be an unusually-looking Collapse Pit, for instance...). The Impact Crater Glinka was named after the Russian composer Mikhail Glinka (1804 - 1857), who is regarded as one of the Fathers of the Russian Classical Music.

Date acquired: November 26th, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 262402263
Image ID3026496
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 14,96° North
Center Longitude: 247,40° East
Resolution: 44 meters/pixel
Solar Incidence Angle: 67,5° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 22,5° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 3,1°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 64,5°

This image (which has been cropped from an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft Map Projected b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16990) 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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