Astronomy Picture of the Day
February 3, 2014

Russians on Mercury: Tolstoj and Nureyev
Russians on Mercury: Tolstoj and Nureyev

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 huge (and always fascinating to watch) Tolstoj Impact Basin (approx. 355 Km - such as about 220,445 miles - in diameter), can be very well seen near the lower left (Sx of the Viewer) corner edge of this frame (taken by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on November, 21, 2013; its center is filled with relatively smooth Plains and, as it is clearly visible in this Absolute Natural Colors-processed image, it is surrounded by a large Region that is made of of Low-Reflectance Material - possibly Ejecta. The (always relatively speaking) "fresh", Bright-Rayed Impact Crater Nureyev (which, on its side, is approx. 16 Km - such as about 9,936 miles - in diameter) is also visible near the Eastern Side, in a very central position (as to the visible portion) of the Mercurian Limb.

Date acquired: November, 21st, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 27346412
Image ID: 5238318
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 4,37° South
Center Longitude: 188,80° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 14,6° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 75,4° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 58,8°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 63,2°

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 17921) 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 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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