Astronomy Picture of the Day
May 8, 2014

Mercurian Hill?
Mercurian Hill?

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 Vertical Relief (a very small Hill perhaps?), photographed by the NASA - MESSENGER Spacecraft on March, 25, 2014, lies towards the Edge of Mercury's expansive Northern Plains. The Sun, at the time when the picture was taken, was already very low on the Local Mercurian Horizon (---> only ), and this circumstance caused the creation of a long Shadow, approximately 3,3 Km (such as about 2,04 miles) long.

Using a simple formula (actually, it is a Trigonometric relationship) - and knowing, in addition to the length of the Shadow, the Local Solar Incidence Angle - it was easy to calculate  the height of the Hill, which is approx.(~) 340 meters (such as about (~) 0,2111 miles).

This Vertical Relief, according to NASA Planetary Scientists, could be (even thougb we, as IPF, stronglt disagree with such an hypothesis) a partial remnant of the Rim of an old Impact Crater that, some time in a very remote past of Mercury, was flooded (---> invaded and then almost completely covered) by fluid Lava. North is to the right of this image.

Date acquired: March, 25th, 2014
Image Mission Elapsed Time (MET): 38066727
Image ID: 6000245
InstrumentNarrow Angle Camera (NAC) of the Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS)
Center Latitude: 83,92° North
Center Longitude: 242,30° East
Solar Incidence Angle: 84,0° (meaning that the Sun, at the time that the picture was taken, was about 6,0° above the imaged Local Mercurian Horizon)
Emission Angle: 1,9°
Sun-Mercury-Messenger (or "Phase") Angle: 82,0°

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 18248) 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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