Astronomy Picture of the Day
February 13, 2014

Red Planet?
Red Planet?

Credits: ESA © 2007 MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/ LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA - Credits for the additional process. and color.: Marco Faccin and Elisabetta Bonora /LXTT/IPF

This simply beautiful and extremely suggestive and fascinating image of Mars (which is a composite of four frames taken by the OSIRIS Narrow-Angle Camera located onboard the ESA - Rosetta Philae Spacecraft) was acquired on February, 24, 2007 at 19:28 h., Central Europe Time (or "CET", for short), from a distance of about 240.000 Km (such as approx. 149.040 miles) from the Planet; the Image Ground Resolution is about 5 Km (such as approx. 3,1 miles) per pixel.

As you can see, the so-called Red Planet - at least according to our State-of-the-Art additional processing and colorization of the four frames forming the composite - does NOT look at all exactly (and only) red and orange, with just a few spots of gray and the white of the Polar Caps: as a matter of fact, a huge variety of colors and shades can easily be seen everywhere on the Martian Surface (colors whose meaning we shall try to explain in the future), as well as very many gray, bluish and white Clouds can also be spotted, all around the Planet (and especially on its Western Side).

This picture (which is an Original, Non Map Projected and True-Colour image of Mars, generated by using the OSIRIS Orange (Red), Green and Blue Colour Filters of the OSIRIS Narrow-Angle Camera, and published on the ESA - Rosetta Philae's Image Album with the ID n. 224111) has been additionally processed, magnified to aid the visibility of the details, contrast enhanced, Gamma corrected and then re-colorized in Natural Colors (such as the colors that a perfect human human eye - or, even better, a CCD Camera (or an Electronic Eye) would actually perceive if someone were onboard the ESA - Rosetta Philae Spacecraft and then looked ahead, towards the Planet Mars), by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team.

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