Astronomy Picture of the Day
July 31, 2013

Features of the Northern Plains (EDM)
Features of the Northern Plains (EDM)

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.

As you know, the Northern Plains of the Planet Mercury have (in average) a lower elevation than the surrounding Regions, and this view of them - which is an image-mosaic obtained by sewing together three frames taken by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on February, 13, 2013 -  includes many Wrinkle Ridges (---> slight lines in or folds of the Terrain) which are a result (as a matter of fact, just one of the many) of the occurrence, in a far and distant past of the Planet, of a Tectonic Deformation.

Furthermore, as you can clearly see in this EDM, the visible Ridges, in fact, outline the Rim of a "Ghost Impact Crater" (approx. 21 Km - such as about 13,041 miles - in diameter), which formed when fresh, molten Lava covered an existing Impact Crater and then a few differential "Saggings" (---> "sagging" occurs when a certain portion of the Ground sinks or subsides gradually, under the action of a powerful weight or pressure) took place all over its Rim. If you look here, you might also notice that the "Ghost Rim" is joined by other 4 (four) - or maybe even 5 (five) - prominent Ridges.

Date acquired: February, 13th, 2013
Images Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 3038383, 3038375, 3038379
Images ID: 3509798, 3509796, 3509797
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 69,58° North
Center Longitude: 284,10° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 84,9° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 5,1° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 0,1°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 85,0°

This picture (which is a crop taken from an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's false colors and Map-Projected image-mosaic published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 17390) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, gamma corrected, 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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