Astronomy Picture of the Day
April 25, 2014

The Scarlatti Peak-Ring Basin from atop
The Scarlatti Peak-Ring Basin from atop

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 image-mosaic, obtained by putting together three frames taken by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on April, 4, 2012 (and when the Spacecraft was almost perpendicular as to the photographed Surface Features - see the extremely low Emission Angle), we can see - once again - the Peak-Rng Basin named Scarlatti. The bright, irregular Depression located in the Northern portion of the Basin's Ring is thought to be, as you should already know, an ancient Volcanic Vent - or even a Caldera - where, eons ago, some high magnitude's Explosive Volcanism Phenomena must have occurred.

As you can see, there are also several bright Hollows present (here and there, but mostly) in the Southern Section of the Peak-Ring that appear, in this Absolute Natural Color image, of a pale gray and white color (once compared to the surrounding Material). Just out of curiosity, this Impact Basin was so named after Alessandro Scarlatti and his son, Domenico Scarlatti, both influential Italian Baroque Composers.

Date acquired: April, 4th, 2012
Images Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 242004051, 242004043, 242004047
Images ID: 1603177, 1603175, 1603176
InstrumentWide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 39,84° North
Center Longitude: 260,90° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 57,5° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 32,5° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 0,2°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 57,5°

This picture (which is an Original NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft's false colors and Map-Projected image-mosaic published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 16355) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, Gamma corrected, magnified to aid the visibility of the details and then re-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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