Astronomy Picture of the Day
December 11, 2013

Nureyev Crater (Part II - EDM)
Nureyev Crater (Part II - 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.

The bright, Rayed Impact Crater Nureyev (approx. 16 Km - such as about 9,936 miles - in diameter) is at center stage in this dramatic picture (which is a crop taken from an image-mosaic made out of three frames obtained by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on June, 17, 2012) that looks toward the Eastern Limb of the Planet Mercury (not visible here).

The Crater's namesake is the Soviet/British ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who was born on March, 17, 1938, in Irkutsk (Soviet Union) and died in Levallois-Perret (France) on January, 6, 1993. This set of images was obtained, as you can see, at a (relatively) small Phase Angle (i.e.: 28°) and, consequently, the final mosaic is dominated by variations in the inherent Reflectance (---> Albedo) and color shades of the photographed Surface. However, the exact shape of the Nureyev Crater can be better perceived in images taken with a larger Phase Angle: a spatial configuration that can allow us to see the shadows and shading in such a way and such a manner that the real Topography of the Surface of Nureyev will be clearly revealed.

Date acquired: June, 17th, 2012
Images Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 248431526, 248431518, 248431522
Images ID: 2033219, 2033217, 2033218
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 12,60° North
Center Longitude: 187,00° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 26,0° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the pictures were taken, was about 64,0° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 54,1°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 28,0°

This frame (which is a crop taken from an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's false colors and NON Map-Projected image-mosaic published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 17749) 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 Mercurian Impact Crater "Nureyev"), 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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