Astronomy Picture of the Day
April 27, 2014

Waters Crater
Waters Crater

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 beautiful image, obtained by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on September, 16, 2013, we can see the extremely unusually-looking Impact Crater known as Waters. The South-heading Dark Impact Melt Flow of Waters Crater (approx. 15 Km - such as about 9,315 miles - in diameter and so named, in the AD 2012, after the blues legend Muddy Waters - Mc Kinley Morganfield, born in Issaquena County - Mississippi - USA -, on April 4, 1913 and deceased in Westmont, Illinois, on April 30, 1983) has always been - we'd say, obviously - a Surface Feature of great interest for Planetary Scientists, and the Targeted Color Imaging Campaign carried out by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft showed quite well, and more than once, the distinctive dark gray-greenish-bluish color of the aforementioned Impact Melt Flow.

As a consequence of such a great interest, during the late AD 2013, this High-Resolution Image was then acquired, and it revealed stunning new details (like the Wavy Texture) of the Impact Melt Flow - details which were (as far as their visual quality was and is concerned) way beyond the ones that had been photographed in other (previous) frames.

Date acquired: September, 16th, 2013
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 21673915
Image ID: 4834878
InstrumentNarrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 9,00° South
Center Longitude: 254,70° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 44,0° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 46,0° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 44,8°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 85,5°

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 18228) 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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