Astronomy Picture of the Day
September 30, 2013

Volcanic Vents (CTX Frame)
Volcanic Vents (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.

This beautiful and highly evocative view of the Volcanic Vents located to the North of the Rachmaninoff Impact Basin gives us a very new perspective of the whole area. Near the center of the frame (and slightly to the right - Dx), we can clearly see a large Volcanic Vent (approx. 36 Km - such as about 22,35 miles - across) which sits just within (actually, almost in the middle of) the bright and whitish Pyroclastic Deposits that are thought to have been thrown out (---> erupted), eons ago, from he Vent itself.

Furthermore, an older Volcanic Vent can also be seen towards the bottom right (Dx) portion of the picture (at about 5 o'clock); it appears as an Irregularly Shaped (and relatively Shallow) Surface Depression that, in fact, does not show, in its surroundings, the presence of any kind of Pyroclastic Deposits (most likely because the Lava that surfaced from that Vent was not subject to any event of the so-called "Explosive Volcanism"). You may want to notice, in the end, that the oblique angle of the image is fit to give us the possibility to take a good look at all the Eastern Walls of these Volcanic (and NON-Volcanic too) Surface Features which have been caught in this picture.

Date acquired: August, 23rd, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 19543205
Image ID: 4683301
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 35,77° North
Center Longitude: 63,90° East

This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's b/w and NON-Map-Projected image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 17501) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, magnified, Gamma corrected and then 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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