Astronomy Picture of the Day
November 16, 2013

Bright Crater, Dark Surface (CTX Frame)
Bright Crater, Dark Surface (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.

Today's APOD is an image-mosaic obtained by putting together 3 (three) frames taken by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on October, 19, 2013; it shows us an interesting Unnamed Impact Crater which is located to the North of the Couperin Crater. Although this specific Unnamed Impact Crater is relatively small - consider that its only about 6 Km (such as about 3,72 miles) in diameter -, its bright  Rays' System cause it to stand out prominently in the context of a Local (or even Regional) view of the Planet Mercury.

In other words, this Unnamed Imapact Crater its quite peculiar - in a way - not just because its Interior (---> Floor) and its Rays are particularly bright (which is a fact), but rhather because its bright Rays's System, tends to fade (actually, it does fade and quickly disappers) into the very dark background of the Crater's Surroundings; Surroundings which, as you might have already imagined, are mostly made of (or covered by) the so-called "Low Reflectance Material" (or "LRM" for short).

Date acquired: October, 19th, 2013
Images Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 24470528, 24470520, 24470516
Images ID: 5033545, 5033543, 5033542
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 35,86° North
Center Longitude: 207,90° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 37,1° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 52,9° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 9,1°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 41,6°

This frame (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 17678) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, magnified to aid the visibility of the details, Gamma corrected and then re-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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