Astronomy Picture of the Day
April 28, 2014

Waters Crater, in context
Waters Crater, in context

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 High Resolution Image-Mosaic, obtained by putting together three frames taken by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on May, 16, 2011, we can see, once again, the approx. 15-Km (such as about 9,315 miles) diameter Impact Crater named Waters that, as you can easily understand just by looking at the picture, should be relatively young, as indicated by the Bright Rays that cross the neighboring (---> meaning located in its proximities) Surface Features. As we have already drawn to your attention in yesterday's APOD, an unusually-looking "Tongue-like Feature", most likely made of Impact Melt - and which shows a very dark gray color, when compared to the nearby Mercurian Surface - appears to have flowed out of the Crater itself, most likely at the time of - or just right after - its formation.

Date acquired: May, 16th, 2011
Images Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 214069807, 214069811, 214069815
Images ID: 261719, 261720, 261721
InstrumentWide Angle Camera (WAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 8,82° South
Center Longitude: 254,90° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 41,8° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 48,2° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 25,6°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 67,4°

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 15389) 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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