Astronomy Picture of the Day
January 25, 2014

To Ngoc Van (Low Emission Angle - CTX Frame)
To Ngoc Van (Low Emission Angle - CTX Frame)

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 this beautiful view obtained by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on November, 8, 2011, we can see, once again, prominent, near the center of the degraded Impact Crater To Ngoc Van, an interesting (and really irregularly shaped) Collapse Pit (approx. 20 Km - such as about 12,42 miles - across). As a matter of fact, many samples of Impact Craters with one (or more) Collapse Pit/s located on their Floors, have already been identified across the Mercurian Surface and - most likely - they all formed as a consequence of (extremely ancient) phenomena of Explosive Volcanism.

Date acquired: November, 8th, 2011
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 229277972
Image ID: 988708
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 52,89° North
Center Longitude: 248,60° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 60,3° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 29,7° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 23,0°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 83,4°

This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's b/w and Map-Projected image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 15201) 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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