Astronomy Picture of the Day
February 14, 2014

Dürer Crater and surroundings
Dürer Crater and surroundings

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.

This image, taken by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on November, 16, 2013, at a High Emission Angle, helps us to better see the three-dimensional Nature (---> such as the "Depth" and - relative - "Height", as to one another, of all the pictured Surface Reliefs) of the scene. Dürer Crater, (approx. 195 Km - such as about 121,095 miles - across) is a large Peak-Ring Impact Basin that can be clearly seen in the foreground and its Peak Ring, as you may want to notice, is widely dotted with the (now we know) most common and bright Mercurian Surface Feature, such as the so-called "Hollows". North is towards the left (Sx) of the frame.

Date acquired: November, 16th, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 26946160
Image ID: 5209643
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 20,68° North
Center Longitude: 244,90° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 67,1° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 22,9° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 62,9°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 30,0°

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 17976) 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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