Astronomy Picture of the Day
January 21, 2014

Terror Rupes (EDM)
Terror Rupes (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 today's APOD (which is just an Extra Detail Magnification - or "EDM", for short - of a crop taken from yesterday's picture), we can better see the Southern Mercurian Relief known as "Terror Rupes": it is the long, Cliff-like Landform visible right in the middle of the frame. Terror Rupes is one of Mercury's most prominent Lobate Scarps, and it was so named after the HMS (---> Her Majesty's Ship) Terror: an eighteenth-century warship that, later, participated in Scientific Polar Explorations.

Date acquired: February, 4th, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 236853865
Image ID: 1353252
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 69,30° South
Center Longitude: 96,00° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 80,3° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 9,7° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 50,9°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 114,5°

This picture (which is a crop taken from an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's b/w and NON-Map-Projected image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 17881) 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 outside, towards the Surface 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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