Astronomy Picture of the Day
August 25, 2013

Unnamed Northern Crater with Gullies
Unnamed Northern Crater with Gullies

Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona - Credits for the additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF

This image, taken by the NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on July 20, 2013, was part of a photo-campaign planned to search for Gully Activity in the Northern Hemisphere of the Red Planet. In fact, changing Gullies have so far been documented only in the Southern Hemisphere of Mars, where a greater thickness of Carbon Dioxide (---> CO2) Frost forms during the long and dark Southern Winter.

The Gullies, as far as we know, are active when this kind of CO2 Frost is present, especially in the late Wintert and Spring, when it sublimates. This well-preserved Unnamed Impact Crater shown in today's APOD had shown, in a very recent past, a bright Gully Deposit (NOT visible here, but in prior images of the very same area), and this circumstance suggested the occurrence of a recent activity (---> please, notice that the word "activity", in this context, just means that some change of the visible Surface Features has occured and therefore that the Martian Landscape has actually been modified by some still ongoing Geological or Meteorological Process).

Mars Local Time: 13:55 (Early Afternoon)
Coord. (centered): 60,208° North Lat. and 236,276° East Long.
Spacecraft altitude: 308,4 Km (such as about 191,516 miles)
Original image scale range: 30,9 cm/pixel (with 1 x 1 binningso objects ~ 93 cm across are resolved
Map projected scale: 25 cm/pixel
Emission Angle: 2,6°
Phase Angle: 68,4°
Solar Incidence Angle: 67° (meaning that the Sun was about 23° above the Local Horizon at the time the picture was taken)
Solar Longitude: 354,3° (Northern Winter - Southern Summer)
Credits: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona
Additional process. and coloring: Lunar Explorer Italia

This picture (which is a NASA - Original Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter b/w and NON-Map Projected sub-frame identified by the serial n. ESP_032722_2405) has been additionally processed, magnified, contrast enhanced, Gamma corrected, and then colorized in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and then looked down, towards the Surface of Mars), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team.

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