Astronomy Picture of the Day
December 5, 2013

Extremely interesting Unnamed Impact Crater (EDM)
Extremely interesting Unnamed Impact 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.

In this frame, which is an Extra Detail Magnification (or "EDM") of a crop taken from an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's b/w and Map-Projected image, you will be able to see - as we wrote yesterday, just out of scientific curiosity - a Surface Detail that (strangely) has been completely "missed" (or maybe ignored, who knows...) by the NASA Scientists. So now, if you look towards the South/Western Portion of the Crater, just on its Rim, at about 7 o'clock of the Crater's outline, you will be able to notice the presence of many (relatively bright) Rocky Debris (having, in our opinion, a more than conspicuous dimension), which are surrounded by some very dark (almost black) Terrain, and followed by a Dark (black, in fact) Streak that seems to end (but we are not sure of this specific circumstance) towards the South-Western Quadrant of the frame (visible in yesterday's CTX Frame but not visible in this EDM).

This intriguing Surface Detail, always in our humble opinion, as IPF, is the evidence of a relatively recent (probably VERY recent) Impact Event, where the Impactor (that we believe to be small in size and relatively fragile in its chemical/mineralogical composition) hit the Surface of Mercury according to an extremely oblique angle (and falling on a North-East-to-South-West trajectory), which caused the "Cosmic Projectile" first to hit the Rim of this Unnamed Impact Crater (and thus causing the damage that we can see so VERY WELL in today's EDM), and then, after a partial (and, likely, almost complete) disintegration, to continue its course towards the South/West of this area (following a long and, for a while, Surface-grazing Fall that was the cause of the Dark Streak that is visible on the Surface).

If you look carefully, you will be able to perfectly see the disrupted Outer Rim of this Unnamed Impact Crater, the black Terrain that lies all around it (meaning all around the point of disruption) as well as the Rocky Debris - whose physical configuration perfectly suggests/indicates the direction of the incoming Projectile - and, last but not least, a portion of the black Streak that marked the Surface and which proceeds towards the South/Western side of this Region.

Date acquired: April, 5th, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 242124773
Image ID: 1609270
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 22,85° South
Center Longitude: 267,30° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 40,8° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 49,2° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 30,0°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 70,8°

This frame (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 17745) 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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