Astronomy Picture of the Day
September 19, 2013

Features of Heine Crater (CTX Frame)
Features of Heine Crater (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.

The Mercurian Impact Crater Heine (whose diameter is approx. 70 Km - such as about 43,47 miles) is quite well detailed in this Image-Mosaic that has been obtained by putting together three frames taken by the NASA - Messenger Spacecraft on May, 6, 2012. Heine Crater, as you can see, exhibits, towards its South/Western Side (left - Sx - and lower left portion of the frame), what is now commonly known as "Low Reflectance Material" (or "LRM" for short), as well as High Reflectance Rays to its West (look at 9 o'clock of the picture, left - Sx - corner). The Low Reflectance Material that is visible here (such as the very dark area comprised between 6 and 8 o'clock of the picture) is, likely, very old Material that can also often be found in some Southern Areas of the Planet Mercury. On the other hand, the Bright (---> High Reflectance) Rays emanate from the Impact Crater Degas, which is located approximately 150 Km (such as about 93,15 miles) away, to the North of Heine Crater.


As you might have noticed, no Hollows are visible in and around Heine Crater (which is kind of strange, if you consider the - let's say - "usual", physical characteristics of many - in fact, VERY MANY! - Mercurian Impact Craters). Last, but not least (and just out of curiosity), this Impact Crater was so named after Heinrich Heine (born on December 13, 1797, in Düsseldorf and deceased in Paris on February, 17, 1856), who is considered one of the most significant German Poets of the 19th Century. One of Heine's best known poems is "Die Lorelei".


Date acquired: May, 6th, 2012
Images Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 244776305, 244776297, 244776301
Images ID: 1773153, 1773151, 1773152
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 32,28° North
Center Longitude: 234,50° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 43,0° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was very high in the Sky, such as about 47,0° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 0,2° (meaning that the NASA - Messenger Spacecraft, at the time when the pictures were taken, was almost perpendicular as to Heine Crater)
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 43,1°


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 17431) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, magnified, Gamma corrected and then re-colorized in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that an average 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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