Astronomy Picture of the Day
December 20, 2013

Wang Meng Crater (EDM)
Wang Meng 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.

The large Wang Meng Impact Basin (whose diameter is approx. 165 Km - such as about 102,465 miles) can clearly be see in this Extra Detail Magnification which is a crop taken mosaic made out of three frames obtained by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on April, 20, 2013. This Absolute Natural Color view of the Impact Basin shows us, among many other extremely interesting things, the strong contrast between the dark Low Reflectance Material (or "LRM", for short) which is located on the Eastern Portion of Wang Meng's Peak Ring and the brighter Western Portion of the Peak Ring itself, as well as the bright white Rays that spread across the lower right side (---> West) of the picture.


While some of the Hollows existing on and near the Crater's Peak Ring and Outer Rim are, somehow, "associated" (here and there, and always unevenly) with Low Reflectance Material, as evidenced by their bright white halos, the Rays that are visible here (---> such as towards the Western and South/Western sides of the frame) are, in fact, coming from other Impact Craters located in Wang Meng's proximities - including the small, fresh Impact Crater visible towards the upper right corner of the picture, just in betwenn the Peak Ring and the Outer Rim of Wang Meng.


Date acquired: April, 20th, 2013
Images Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 8743264, 8743256, 8743260
Images ID: 3915336, 3915334, 3915335
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 6,33° North
Center Longitude: 254,10° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 41,6° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the pictures were taken, was about 48,4° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 0,2°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 41,7°


This frame (which is a crop taken from an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's false colors and Map-Projected image-mosaic published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 17239) 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 "Wang Meng"), 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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