Astronomy Picture of the Day
March 9, 2014

Odin Planitia and Schiaparelli Dorsum at Nightfall
Odin Planitia and Schiaparelli Dorsum at Nightfall

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.

Today's APOD shows a Region located to the East of the large Caloris Basin: another area whose physical configuration is thought to be due to the action of countless Ejecta coming from the Caloris Basin's Impact Event. The visible Knobs, as well as the extremely unusually-looking Corrugated Texture of the Surface here, belong to the Mercurian Region known as Odin Planitia and these Features (Knobs and Corrugated Terrain) might both have formed from the combined action of an heavy "Rain" of Ejecta and the (simultaneous) formation of a large quantity of Impact Melt.


The Schiaparelli Dorsum, which is the bright (---> still illuminated by the Sunlight) Relief nearly aligned with the Terminator Line (---> the division between the Dayside and the Nightside of Mercury), cuts across the whole scene (approx. 400 Km - such as about 248,4 miles - across) from top, to bottom.


Date acquired: July, 7th, 2012
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 250134169
Image ID: 2154159
Instrument: Wide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 24,83° North
Center Longitude: 195,20° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 88,8° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 1,2° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 53,2°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 142,0°


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 18107) 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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