Astronomy Picture of the Day
June 21, 2013

Closing-up on Degas Crater (CTX Frame)
Closing-up on Degas Crater (CTX Frame)

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 spectacular image-mosaic of the Mercurian Northern Hemisphere's Impact Crater Degas - mosaic formed by three frames taken by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on April 23, 2013 - has been realized to emphasize the Crater's very Dark Floor (since it is covered by the so-called Low Reflectance Material - or LRM for short), its Complex Central Peak (or Peaks' System, if you prefer), and the intricated Network of Cracks that widely dissect its ancient Floor. Furthermore, well highlighted here are also the Crater's slumping Inner Walls (---> which means that the Inner Walls of Degas Crater have been - and perhaps still are - undergoing a severe and, most likely, extremely prolonged - in time - collapse upon themselves, possibly due to the occurrence of that phenomenon known as Gravity Wasting).

Date acquired: April, 23rd, 2013
Images Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 9030507, 9030499, 9030495
Images ID: 3935833, 3935831, 3935830
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 37,03° North
Center Longitude: 232,90° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 45,6° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 44,4° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 8,0°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 39,9°

This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's false colors Map-Projected image-mosaic published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 17285) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, magnified 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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