Astronomy Picture of the Day
November 14, 2013

Hopper Crater (CTX Frame)
Hopper 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.

This image of the Mercurian Surface, recently acquired by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft, shows us the really peculiar Impact Crater - named "Hopper" - whose Floor is home to a true "collection" of Hollows. As a matter of fact, the Hopper's Hollows (in NASA's opinion) seem to bear a certain resemblance to the spectacular System of Hollows that has already been seen and photographed on the Floor of the Crater Kertesz. Hopper Crater was so named, in December 2012, by the International Astronomical Union (or "IAU"), after the American realist painter Edward Hopper (who was born in upper Nyack, New York, on July, 22, 1882 and died in his studio - near Washington Square in New York City - on May, 15, 1967 ), and whose most famous painting is called Nighthawks.

Please notice, as far as the Hollows' System of Hopper Crater is concerned, that all the Hollows existing on its Floor seem to be, somehow, "connected - or kind of "glued" - to one another" (or, perhaps, even partially "covered"), by a thin, whitish and semi-transparent Layer of Surface Material (which will be better visible in tomorrow's EDM), whose origin is, at least according to our knowledge, as IPF, still unknown.

Date acquired: October, 5th, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 23291305
Image ID: 4949563
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 11,95° South
Center Longitude: 304,00° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 68,8° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 21,2° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 4,7°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 64,0°

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 17649) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, magnified to aid the visibility of the details, Gamma corrected 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 Mercurian Impact Crater "Hopper"), 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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