Astronomy Picture of the Day
April 17, 2014

Dominici Crater (again)
Dominici Crater (again)

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.

In this really dramatic image of the Mercurian Surface, taken by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on January, 30, 2014, the Equatorial Impact Crater known as Dominici Crater takes the center-stage. Dominici Crater is approx. 20 Km (such as about 12,42 miles) in diameter, and hosts a variety of interesting (and well known) Landforms, including a sharp Rim (---> Edge), quite a few internal Slumps (---> Landslides, most likely due to the occurrence of Gravity Wasting phenomena), and - last but not least - abundant bright Hollows.

Dominici is also a Rayed Impact Crater, which, together with its well-preserved Rim, indicate (suggest) - always relatively speaking - a recent formation. This scene, taken from an Oblique Angle, gives us a good idea of what the Surface of Mercury might look like from a Spacecraft window as we zoom overhead.

Date acquired: January, 30th, 2014
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 33401837
Image ID: 5668405
Instrument: Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 1,10° North
Center Longitude: 323,50° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 36,2° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 53,8° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 41,8°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 77,4°

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 18206) 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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