Astronomy Picture of the Day
November 2, 2013

On the Edge of Caloris Basin
On the Edge of Caloris Basin

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 picture, which has been obtained by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on July, 3rd, 2013, shows us an area (approx. 57 Km - such as about 35,397 miles - across) located on the South/Western Rim of the Giant Caloris Impact Basin. The small Hills visible in the lower left are part of the Rim Units, as well as the smooth Surface located to the right, are all part of the smooth Plains which characterize the interior of the Impact Basin. The scene lies right on a so-called "Color Boundary" and, to be precise,, right between Dark Rim Material and High-Reflectance Plains. Small Hollows are found (and very well visible) on the top of the Hills (as well as in many other locations all around this Region), while small Lobate Scarps cross the whole area. The famous "kidney-shaped" Pyroclastic Vent is just to the East (Dx), but out of the scene (note: if you wish to take a look at the aforementioned "kidney-shaped" Pyroclastic Volcanic Vent, please refer to the APOD of May, 12, 2013 and December, 22, 2012).

Date acquired: July, 3rd, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 15137794
Image ID: 4370103
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 68,70° North
Center Longitude: 31,80° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 68,7° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 21,3° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 31,8°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 100,1°

This frame (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's b/w and Map-Projected image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 17578) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, magnified 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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