Astronomy Picture of the Day
January 7, 2014

Alpha Regio
Alpha Regio

NASA/JPL - Magellan Mission - Credits for the Additional Process. and Color.: Dr Paolo C. FIENGA/LXTT/IPF

The Eastern Edge of the Venusian Alpha Regio is shown in this NASA - Magellan Spacecraft's Radio-Image, which is centered at 30° South Latitude and 11,8" East Longitude (Note: Longitude on Venus is measured from 0 to 360° East). Seven circular, Dome-like Hills, averaging 25 Km (such as approx. 15,525 miles) in diameter, with maximum heights of 750 meters (such as 2460 feet) dominate the scene.

These Surface Features are interpreted as very thick Lava Flows that came from an opening on the relatively flat Ground, which allowed the Lava to come out in an even pattern, outward from the openings. The Complex Fractures' Network visible on top of the Domes suggest that if they were created by Lava Flows, a cooled Outer Layer formed first, and then further Lava, flowing in the interior, stretched the Surface. These Domes here, in fact, may not just look, but even be similar to Volcanic Domes located on our Home Planet Earth.

Another interpretation is that the Domes are the result of Molten Rock (or Magma) flowing in the interior (---> Sub-Surface) that pushed the Surface Layer upward. The Near-Surface Magma then withdrew to deeper levels (---> sunk), thus causing the collapse and fracturing of the Domes' Surface. The Bright Margins could possibly indicate the presence of Rocky Debris on the Slopes of the Domes.

Some of the Fractures visible on the Plains cut through the Domes, while others appear to be covered by the Domes themselves. This indicates that Active Geologic (Volcanic) Processes involved in the creation of these Features, both pre and post-dated the formation of the Dome-like Hills. The prominent black area visible in the North/Eastern corner (upper right) of the frame is NOT a real Surface Feature, but just a data gap; North is at the top of the image.

This frame (which is an Original NASA - Magellan Spacecraft Radio-Image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the n. PIA 00215), since it is just a Radio-Image of the Venusian Surface and NOT a real view of it, has been colorized, according to an educated guess carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga (LXTT-IPF), in what they could reasonably be its possible Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would perceive if someone were onboard the NASA - Magellan Spacecraft and, once the thick layer of Venusian Clouds and Fogs is completely overcome, looked down, towards the Surface of Venus itself), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team.

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