Astronomy Picture of the Day
March 17, 2014

Hollows at Sholem Aleichem
Hollows at Sholem Aleichem

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, captured by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on March, 7, 2014 - which is approx. 8 Km (such as about 4,968 miles) across -, shows us a large number of the (now we have learned) very common Mercurian Surface Features known as "Hollows"; this picture has been obtained in the Highest Resolution ever achieved so far.


However, these specific Hollows are located on the Inner Wall of the Mercurian Impact Crater known as Sholem Aleichem (approx 200 Km - such as about 124,2 miles - across); an Impact Crater which had been already seen (better yet: discovered), obviously with much less details, by the NASA - Mariner 10 Spacecraft, more than three decades ago. The Crater was named Sholem Aleichem to Honor a Yiddish writer (---> Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich, better known under his "pen name" Sholem Aleichem; he was a leading Yiddish author and playwrighter who was born in Ukraine on March, 2, 1859, and died in New York City - USA - on May, 13, 1913).


Furthermore, and just out of curiosity, Sholem Aleichem Crater (and its Hollows, as you will better see in tomorrow's APOD) is located within a Mercurian Region (found in the Northern Hemisphere of the Planet) that is mostly made of the so-called "Low-Reflectance Material" (or "LRM", for short): in other words, a substantially Dark Region of the Innermost Planet of the Solar System.


Date acquired: March, 7th, 2014
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 36539529
Image ID: 5891638
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 51,90° North
Center Longitude: 267,53° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 63,2° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 26,8° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 14,9°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 78,0°


This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's b/w and Map-Projected image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 18117) 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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