Astronomy Picture of the Day
May 22, 2013

Tyagaraja Crater (Part I)
Tyagaraja Crater (Part I)

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 colorful picture of Tyagaraja Crater (which is about 97 Km - such as approx. 60,23 miles - in diameter) and its surroundings shows us many different types of Material that exist on the Surface of Mercury. For instance, the very bright, white areas visible on the Floor of the Crater (in particular to the North/East, at about 3 o'clock) are the very "famous" (and common, on Mercury) Hollows; as a matter of fact, they are so much brighter than the surrounding Areas that they appear slightly over-saturated in this particular image. The yellow/red/orangish spots located near the center of the Crater are, most likely, Volcanic Materials which surround a Pyroclastic Vent. Last, but not least, the very Dark Material (almost black) that is visible all around Tyagaraja Crater (and, particularly, towards the South/Western Regions surrounding Tyagaraja - such as the areas located in the lower left (Sx) side of the frame) is Low Reflectance Material (LRM). Just out of curiosity, if you look carefully at the outline of Tyagaraja Crater, you may notice that its shape is quite unusual for a Primary Impact Crater: in fact, its shape it is not a "circle", but rather an (almost regular, on its Western side) "hexagon".


Date acquired: April 25th, 2013
Images Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 9232956, 9232948, 9232944
Images ID: 3950118, 3950116, 3950115
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 3,94° North
Center Longitude: 211,20° East
Resolution: 22 meters/pixel
Solar Incidence Angle: 13,4° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 76,6° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 18,0°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 31,5°


This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft Map Projected false color image-mosaic published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 17051) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced 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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