Astronomy Picture of the Day
December 18, 2013

The heavily Cratered Mercurian Horizon
The heavily Cratered Mercurian Horizon

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.

Three well known Mercurian Impact Craters are prominently featured in this view, taken by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on November, 16, 2013. The fascinating Peak-Ringed Impact Basin named Wang Meng (whose diameter is approx. 165 Km - such as about 102,465 miles) is visible toward the Mercurian Horizon, slightly to the left portion of the frame, while the Pit-Floored Impact Crater Glinka can be seen near the bottom left of the picture. Last, but not least, the Impact Crater known as Judah Ha Levi is about half way in between the first two that we mentioned herebefore.

Date acquired: November, 16th, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 26888421
Image ID: 5205547
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 10,04° North
Center Longitude: 251,20° East

This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's b/w and NON-Map-Projected image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 17787) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, Gamma corrected, magnified to aid the visibility of the details 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 Limb 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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