Astronomy Picture of the Day
February 17, 2014

On the Terminator (Part I)
On the Terminator (Part I)

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 wonderful image, taken by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on December, 9, 2013, shows us, just very close to the Mercurian Terminator Line, an Unnamed - and, so-called, "Ghost" (---> Buried) - Impact Crater (~ 55 Km - such as about 34,15 miles) in diameter (measured near its Center).


This Unnamed Impact Crater was, likely, flooded by the very same Lava that formed, a few billion years ago, the Mercurian Suisei Planitia. The Crater's Rim, as well as its Complex Central Peaks' System, can still (even though just barely) be seen, despite their "burial", and the whole surrounding area, as you can see, has been litterally "showered" (---> intensely covered) by Secondary Impact Craters (such as Rocky Debris, all belonging to the Mercurian Surface, after it was subject to a - probably very long - series of subsequent Impact Events).


Date acquired: December, 9th, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 28935167
Image ID: 5350993
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 63,17° North
Center Longitude: 219,70° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 89,6° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 0,4° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 52,4°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 142,0°


This picture (which is a crop taken from an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's b/w and Map-Projected image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16987) 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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