Astronomy Picture of the Day
August 2, 2013

Sander's Hollows (CTX Frame)
Sander's Hollows (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.

Today's APOD is an image-mosaic made of three frames taken by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on June, 6, 2013 and it highlights the bright Hollows that are located all over the Floor and Peaks (as well as, here and there, on the Rim) of the Mercurian Impact Crater "Sander" (a Crater whose diameter is approx. 51 Km - such as about 31,67 miles - and which was so named after the German photographer August Sander (1876 - 1964).

The process responsible for the creation of these bright, shallow formations, as we have already underlined quite a few times in the past, is still unknown, but it is possible that the quick sublimation of Volatile Elements present in the Sub-Surface (of only some very spoecific areas) of Mercury might be the cause of these fascinating Features.

Date acquired: June, 6th, 2013
Images Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 12802777, 12802773, 12802771
Images ID: 4204118, 4204116, 4204115
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 42,53° North
Center Longitude: 154,20° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 42,9° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 47,1° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 26,5°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 69,4°

This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's false colors and Map-Projected image-mosaic published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 17395) 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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