Astronomy Picture of the Day
March 30, 2014

On the Rim
On the Rim

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 beautiful (and very recent) image of the Mercurian Surface - image taken by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on March, 14, 2014 - shows us a portion of the unusually sharp Rim of an Unnamed Complex Impact Crater, with a diameter of approx. (~) 28 Km - such as about 17,387 miles. The upper left portion of the image depicts an area that lies outside of the Crater, while its lower right portion shows us a little portion of the Crater Floor. The relatively small (and elongated, in its appearance) Impact Crater visible right at the center of the image, is actually located on the Crater's Inner Wall and so its - quite obvious - "deformation", might just be an optical illusion, due to the high Emission Angle (in other words, the oblong appearance of the Crater located at center frame, could reasonably be a mere consequence of the specific Angle of Observation existing at the time when the picture of this Impact Feature was taken). North is up.

Date acquired: March, 14th, 2014
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 37087259
Image ID: 5930668
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 78,14° North
Center Longitude: 278,30° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 78,4° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 11,6° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 39,7°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 118,1°

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 18188) 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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