Astronomy Picture of the Day
May 7, 2013

Volcanic Feature? (Part II)
Volcanic Feature? (Part II)

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 April 2012, shows us an especially unusually-looking Feature located on Mercury's Surface that we have already seen, even though from much farther away, in yesterday's APOD. While, at first glance, it appears to be just an Impact Crater with an unusually large and "pointed" Central Peak, it may, in fact, be a relatively small (about 27 Km - such as 16,767 miles - across) Volcanic Edifice, like, for instance, a "Pyroclastic Vent".

Date acquired: April, 7th, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 242253095
Image ID: 1615411
InstrumentNarrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 4,09° South
Center Longitude: 223,30° East
Resolution: 190 meters/pixel
Solar Incidence Angle: 74,0° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 16,0° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 23,6°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 50,3°

This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft b/w frame published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16380) 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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