Astronomy Picture of the Day
October 19, 2013

Neruda Crater (EDM)
Neruda Crater (EDM)

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.

Today's APOD is an Extra Detail Magnification (or "EDM", for short) featuring the Central Peaks' System of the Mercurian Impact Crater named "Neruda", after the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (born on July, 12, 1904 in Parral - Chile - and died on September, 23, 1973 in the Chilean State's Capital, Santiago). As you can see, this Impact Crater (whose diameter is approx. 112 Km - such as about 69,55 miles) exhibits several Central Peaks punctuated by a few more recent, small Craters, resulting in a rugged Surface mostly made of ups and downs (and now think how difficult it would be if one hypothetical Astronaut decided - or just needed - to traverse the whole Crater's highly irregular Floor...). Similarly, the Crater's namesake Pablo Neruda experienced a number of ups and downs in his life, from success as a poet, through poverty, war and ultimately alleged poisoning.

Date acquired: July, 24th, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 251577944
Image ID: 2256593
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 52,20° South
Center Longitude: 125,30° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 80,4° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 9,6° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 2,4°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 78,0°

This picture (which is a crop taken from an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's b/w and Map-Projected image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 17515) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, magnified to aid the visibility of the details 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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