Astronomy Picture of the Day
May 4, 2013

Steep Mercurian Slope
Steep Mercurian Slope

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.

The Rim of an Unnamed Peak-Ring Impact Basin cuts all the way through today's APOD, which is a picture approximately 25 Km (such as about 15,525 miles) across that has been taken by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft during the last month of April 2013. The Basin is relatively degraded, but its Rim still stands as a Cliff over 1 Km (0,621 miles) high. The "face" of this Cliff, where its downslope side (which is almost completely in the shades) looks toward the top of the image, is covered by a Chain of Secondary Impact Craters, whose formation on this steep Slope led to the creation of somewhat asymmetrical Crater Shapes. It is very difficult (better yet: it is impossible, at this time) to identify which Main Impact Crater these Secondary Craters originated from, since the Region is crossed both by Rays coming from Bronte Crater (which is located more than 1700 Km to the West), as well as from Hokusai Crater (that can be found over 2000 Km to the East).

Date acquired: April 12th, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 8108630
Image ID: 3870271
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 41,15° North
Center Longitude: 289,30° East
Resolution: 22 meters/pixel
Solar Incidence Angle: 64,0° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 26,0° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 15,0°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 79,0°

This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft Map Projected b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 17024) 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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