Astronomy Picture of the Day
September 8, 2013

Back to Miranda!
Back to Miranda!

Credits: NASA/JPL - Voyager 2 Project - Credits for the additional process. and color.: Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF

In this extremely suggestive view of an highly degraded Limb (a view that ws acquired by the NASA - Voyager 2 Spacecraft on January 24, 1986, around its Close Approach to Miranda), the Uranian moon that we believe is one of the most interesting Celestial Bodies existing in the whole Uranian System, revealed a very complex Geologic History. In fact, at least 3 (three) different types of Terrain, each having a different Age, Geologic Style and History, are evident (at this resolution of about 700 meters - such as approx. 2296 feet - per pixel).

However, in this Clear-Filter, Narrow-Angle image are visible, starting from the left (Sx) of the frame:

(1) an apparently ancient, quite smooth and just relatively Cratered Terrain, consisting of rolling, subdued Hills and a few degraded and medium-sized Impact Craters;

(2) a Grooved Terrain with almost parallel, Linear Valleys and Ridges, which developed itself at the expense oF (or, perhaps, replacing) the first Terrain type, and

(3) a Complex Terrain, seen along the Terminator Line, in which Intersecting Curvilinear Ridges and Troughs are abruptly truncated by another Region of Linear and Grooved Terrain. Out of Scientific curiosity, the Voyager Scientists believed (and still believe, as far as we know) that this third type of Terrain is intermediate, in age, between the first two, but such a theory - we, as IPF, wish and have to underline it - is still far away from being (as of today) well substantiated and universally accepted by the Scientific Community.

This frame (which is an Original NASA - Voyager 2 Spacecraft Natural Color image-mosaic published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 00141) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, magnified to aid visibility of the Surface details and then re-colorized, according to an educated guess carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF, in what they should be its Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Voyager 2 Spacecraft and then looked outside, towards the Uranian moon Miranda), 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 others, the existence of different Elements present on the Surface of Miranda, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.

Note: it is possible (but we, as IPF, have no way to be one-hundred-percent sure of such a circumstance), that the actual luminosity of Miranda - as it is in this frame - would appear, to an average human eye, a little bit lower than it has been shown (or, better yet: interpreted) here.

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