Astronomy Picture of the Day
August 10, 2013

Low Sun at Stravinsky
Low Sun at Stravinsky

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 on February, 13, 2013, shows us the Southern Inner and Outer Rim of the Impact Crater Stravinsky.

In this High-Solar Incidence Angle lighting conditions (meaning that the Sun was VERY low on the imaged Mercurian Local Horizon at the time when the picture was taken), the rough Topography of the Crater is easily and very well visible. In particular, it is really remarkable the difference between the Crater's (relatively) flat Floor and the Hummocky Terrain (created by the Ejecta) that lies outside the Crater itself.

Just out of curiosity, the area located in the lower left of the image shows a small section of the Vyasa Impact Basin and, since Stravinsky's Ejecta Blanket overlaps Vyasa's Outer Rim, we can deduce that Stravinsky is - obviously - younger than Vyasa.

Date acquired: February, 13th, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 3211541
Image ID: 3522080
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 50,01° North
Center Longitude: 281,10° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 82,7° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was only about 7,3° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 0,1°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 82,7°

This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's b/w and Map-Projected image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 17393) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, Gamma corrected, magnified 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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